Friday, March 13, 2009

House Backs Greater Penalties for Home Invasion

Lawmakers voted today to increase the penalties for home invasion.

House Bill 1030, by state Rep. John Wright, makes “home invasion” a specific crime subject to Oklahoma’s “truth in sentencing” law requiring those convicted to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

Under the bill’s provisions, individuals convicted of home invasion would serve a minimum 10-year prison sentence and as many as 20 years in a correctional facility.

“Few things are more frightening to the average citizen than violent criminals who will brutally attack you in your home,” said Wright, R-Broken Arrow. “This legislation will increase the penalties for home invasion and hopefully deter some criminals while ensuring those who do commit the crime are removed from society for a long time.”

House Bill 1030 defines “home invasion” as a crime involving “two or more” armed persons who enter a dwelling while the owners are present “with intent to commit some crime.”

The bill defines a home invasion as a crime that involves “forcibly bursting or breaking the wall, or an outer door, window, or shutter” at a home.
Last December, Fox 23 in Tulsa reported that 16 home invasion robberies had occurred in Tulsa in that month alone.

“Unfortunately, the Tulsa area has experienced a rash of this type of criminal activity,” Wright said. “It’s a growing problem that needs to be addressed immediately.”

Because home invasion is a more serious crime than simple burglary, Wright said the penalty should be greater than the seven-year maximum handed down to those convicted of burglary.

House Bill 1030 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 79-4 vote today and now proceeds to the state Senate.

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