Burglary in Texas occurs in three ways. In all three types of burglary, forcible entry is not required for this offense to occur. The unlawful entry with the intent to commit theft or another crime is the key to the offense.
It is possible to enter a residence through on open door or window, steal something inside and be filed on for breaking and entering. Or, you could enter a residence with the intent to assault or rape someone, and a residential burglary charge may be justified.
This offense occurs one of several ways:
• Entering a residence without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit theft, a felony, or an assault; or
• Remaining concealed in a residence without the effective consent of the owner and with intent to commit theft, a felony, or an assault; or
• Entering a habitation and committing or attempting to commit theft, a felony, or an assault.
Residential burglary is usually a second degree felony with a punishment range of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000; however, if additional crimes occurred in the habitation, the punishment is elevated to a first degree felony with a punishment range of five to 99 years in prison or a Life sentence with a fine of up to $10,000.
This is the unlawful entry into a building – or portion of a building that is not open to the public – with the intent to commit theft, a felony, or an assault. The offense is a state jail felony with a punishment range of 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the burglary occurs at a commercial building where controlled substances are generally stored, the offense is elevated to a third felony with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Burglary of a Vehicle
This occurs when an individual is charged with breaking and entering into a vehicle or part of a vehicle with intent to commit any felony or theft. If you reach into an open vehicle window and steal something, you can be charged with burglary of a vehicle. Punishment is a Class A misdemeanor with county jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
The offense is a third degree felony if the vehicle entered or broken into is owned or operated by a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Breaking and entering offenses are sometimes difficult to prosecute successfully unless the burglar is caught committing the crime, eyewitnesses can identify the burglar, or unless property stolen in the burglary is later found in the burglar’s possession.
Defenses include: consent to the entry by a co-occupant of the premises, mistaken identity, and establishing that the stolen property was obtained from another without knowing that it was stolen.
If there are no successful defenses that can be raised, first offenders will usually qualify for deferred adjudication, a term of probation that does not require a lawyer or involve a finding of guilt. After successfully completing a deferred adjudication, you may be able to obtain an order of non-disclosure, which would seal all the prosecution and police records from the public. This would enhance your prospects of obtaining new employment since a prospective employer would not be able to learn that you once committed a criminal offense.
Attorney for Breaking and Entering Charges
Fort Worth Burglary Attorney Justin Sparks offers a free consultation to analyze the facts of your case and your chances of a successful defense.
Justin Sparks has the knowledge and experience to determine whether your case should be tried by a judge or jury. He will also help you gather the facts of your case and proper witnesses. It all starts with a quality criminal defense attorney who can make the difference between winning and losing your burglary case.
If you have been charged with residential burglary in the DFW area, you should look for an attorney local to Dallas/ Fort Worth who has experience handling these complex cases. Call 817-334-0300
Justin Sparks has been defending clients across Fort Worth and Dallas for over ten years. Our firm helps you through the criminal process, from investigation to appeals, if need be. Free consultations for all new cases.