Burglary is the crime of breaking and entering into a structure with the intent of committing a crime thereafter. Automobile crimes are simply crimes that involve some type of vehicle. Texas has a law that allows a person to be charged with the burglary of a vehicle.
How Is the Burglary of a Vehicle Defined in Texas?
A person can be charged with burglary of a vehicle if they break into or enter into a vehicle with the intent to commit theft or a felony, such as stealing the car itself. Burglary of a vehicle also includes breaking and entering into any part of the vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or theft, such as breaking into the trunk in order to steal its contents.
What Does “Enter Into” Mean Regarding Burglarizing a Vehicle?
It means that the person uses any part of their body or a physical object connected to their body to enter into the vehicle.
Can I Be Charged with Breaking into a Vehicle If the Owner Gave Me Consent?
No. Breaking into a vehicle is not a crime if the person has the effective consent of the owner to do so.
Is This Charge a Misdemeanor in Texas?
Yes. It is classified as Class A misdemeanor. The punishment for such a crime may consist of:
- Not more than one year in county jail
- $4,000 fine
- Both a fine and jail time
However, in certain situations, this misdemeanor charge can increase to a felony.
Does Burglarizing a Vehicle Have a Minimum Sentence?
Yes, it does. If a person has been found guilty of the misdemeanor version of this crime, the punishment will at least be a:
- Minimum of six months in county jail
- $4,000 fine
Can I Be Charged with a Felony for Burglary of a Vehicle?
Yes. If a person has already been convicted of burglarizing a vehicle more than once in the past, then the crime is a jail felony. It is also a felony if the vehicle that the person broke into is a rail car. A jail felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and/or a $10,000.
Should I Contact an Attorney for Help with My Case?
You will need legal representation if you are charged with burglarizing a vehicle in Texas. Contact a criminal attorney in Texas for legal representation for your case.