Burglary is the act of breaking and entering into a structure to commit another crime. In general, burglary does not require force, just an unauthorized entry into a building or other dwelling belonging to another. The crime committed after the burglary can vary from assault to kidnapping or murder.
How Is Burglary Defined in Texas?
Texas defines burglary as not having the effective consent of the property owner while:
- Entering a building or habitation not open to the general public to commit a felony, assault, or theft
- Remaining hidden in a habitation with the intent to commit a felony, assault, or theft in the habitation
- Entering a habitation or building and attempting to or actually committing an assault, felony, or theft
What Does “Entering” Mean in a Texas Burglary Charge?
To enter a building or habitation in Texas means to place any part of the body into the building, such as an arm or a foot. It also means placing a physical object in the building connected to the person. An example of placing a physical object in a building connected to a person is using burglary tools to reach into a building.
What Does “Habitation” Mean in a Texas Burglary Charge?
Habitation refers to a vehicle or structure adapted for any overnight accommodations, including a tent or a trailer. The habitation is separately secured and/or connected with the vehicle or structure.
What Does “Building” Refer to in a Texas Burglary Charge?
Building refers to any enclosed structure intended for occupation or use for manufacturing, trade, residential, or ornamental purposes.
Is Burglary a Misdemeanor in Texas?
No. In Texas, burglary considered a:
- State jail felony if the burglary occurs in a building that is not considered a habitation
- Felony in the second degree if it occurred in a habitation
- Felony in the first degree if committed in a habitation and the person had the intent to commit a felony theft or other crime
What Is the Punishment for Burglary in Texas?
The punishment for burglary is:
- State jail felony: 180 days in state jail and/or a $10,000 fine
- Second degree felony: 2 to 20 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine
- First degree felony: 5 to 99 years in a prison and/or $10,000 fine
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Burglary is a serious crime that carries a substantial penalty in Texas. If you are facing burglary charges, contact a Texas criminal lawyer immediately to learn more about burglary defenses that may be available to you