Have you or a loved one been arrested and charged with burglary, or believe a charge imminent? You need to consult an attorney as soon as possible and being developing a game plan. This is a very serious charge that is closely related to Theft. Here is a short primer on burglary.
What Does Burglary Mean? It’s not the Same as Robbery
Texas law on burglary has its roots in English common law. Many people use burglary and robbery interchangeably. However, they are different and distinct charges. Robbery means taking property from someone by force in their presence. The essence of burglary is rooted in its sister crime, criminal trespass. In Texas, burglary means:
- Entering a habitation or a building without the consent of the property owner and committing or intending to commit a felony, theft, or assault
The resident doesn’t have to be there. As a matter of fact, if the resident is there, you’ve probably got an even bigger charge, aggravated robbery. Most of the time, the felony that a person commits or intends to commit is felony theft. It doesn’t matter if you don’t take a thing. It only matters if you intend to do so. It doesn’t matter if you don’t break a window or kick in a door either. Technically, if any part of your body or any object you are holding—such as a flashlight—crosses the threshold of the building, you may be charged with burglary.
I recently had a case in which my client entered his neighbor’s garage in the evening, which was open, and stole several bottles of alcohol from his garage refrigerator. He was charged with burglary of a habitation, although he pled to a much lesser charge. The charge underscores that burglary is taken serious and pursued aggressively by law enforcement.
Burglary of a Habitation
Burglary of a Habitation carries severe penalties. Burglary of a habitation is a Second Degree Felony, which means it is punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
However, it can become a first degree felony if the defendant entered the habitation with the intent to commit a felony other than felony theft. A First Degree Felony is punishable by 5-99 years or life.
Burglary of a Building
Because the law protects people where they live, burglary of a building is a less severe crime. Burglary of a building is a State Jail Felony, which means it is punishable by 180 and up to 2 years in a state jail facility.
Have you been arrested and charged with a crime? Call my office: 817-689-7002. Come into the office for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our office is downtown: 108 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX,76102