Burglary of the first degree is the most serious kind and to be guilty of the offence the defendant needs to enter the dwelling (building) with the intent to steal something (burglary) what makes it first degree is if he
1. Gets into a fight upon entry, with a armed deadly weapon or explosive, or causes physical injury to a person who is not participation gin the crime, or uses or threatens the use of a dangerous instrument or displays what is or appears to be a knife, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm.
2. the defendant has two or more pervious convictions of burglary
3. The entering of the building occurs in the night
Burglary of the first degree is punishable by life imprisonment (life as in in-till death, not the mandatory sentence of 30 years which is usually classed as life), and the court may not hand down a sentence under 15 years for first degree burglary.
Burglary of the second degree is a less serious offence, but is a much more serious offence then third degree burglary. To commit the offence a person must entenr a building without concent and with intent to commit a crime, a person must either
1. Get into an immediate fight, were he has a deadly weapon or explosive, or, causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime, or uses/threats use of a dangerous object, or, displays what is or appears to be a knife, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm, or
2. The burglary is committed by a person with a prior record of two or more convictions for burglary or housebreaking or both,
3. The defendant entenrs the building at night-time.
Burglary in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than fifteen years, provided, that no person convicted of burglary in the second degree shall be eligible for parole except upon service of not less than one-third of the term of the sentence.
There is not much a difference between the two, it is up to the police to decide whether they think they will get a conviction for first degree burglary, they are much more likely to if several of the factors have occurred, for example they might charge second degree for getting into a fight with a deadly weapon, but first degree for getting into a fight with a deadly weapon and having two pervious convictions, first degree is just a more serious combination of factors of burglary, but the same factors consetute both offences.
Burglary of third degree is when a person enters a building without consent and with the intent (mens rea) to commit a crime in that building. Its punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years (first offence) or ten years (second offence)