Burglary Law, Penalties, & Common Defenses in Texas

Not all unlawful entries are considered Burglary. If, for example, a homeless person broke into a building to stay warm, this conduct would likely be considered a misdemeanor criminal trespass. It is possible, however, for a person to develop the intent required for Burglary after making an unlawful entry. In our example, if that same homeless person then decided to steal food from the refrigerator, then he could be charged with Burglary.

Burglary means entering a habitation or any portion of a building without the owner’s permission and with the intent of committing a felony, theft, or assault. To “enter” means to intrude any part of the body or any physical object connected with the body. Burglary is a state jail felony if committed in a building other than a habitation. If the burglary happened in a habitation, it becomes a second degree felony.

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Burglary of a Vehicle

Burglary of a Vehicle happens when a person enters a vehicle without the express permission of the owner with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Burglary of a vehicle could be charged as burglary of habitation (second degree felony) if the vehicle qualifies as a “habitation,” such as an RV, or if the vehicle is parked in an enclosed garage. Usually though, vehicle burglary is prosecuted as a Class A Misdemeanor.

Possible Defenses of Burglary Crimes

A burglary conviction rests on two requisites:

  • The actor did not have permission by the owner to enter the structure.
  • The actor committed or intended to commit a felony, theft or assault upon entry.

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In many cases, these elements are difficult to prove. A skilled lawyer can often challenge these allegations. Depending on the details of the case, your attorney should explore defenses to Burglary such as consent or permission to enter the property. Alternatively, your lawyer may contend that you did not commit nor intend to commit a felony, theft, or assault. Ultimately, an effective defense to Burglary depends on the strength of the physical evidence, the purpose of the person entering the property, and the actor’s intent. A carefully presented defense to Burglary could result in a reduction of charges from burglary to trespassing, or may result in the prosecution dropping all charges.

Contact the Biggs and Greenslade Law Firm today, and schedule your free legal consultation to discuss your burglary case.

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