In Texas, Burglary can be broken into three main categories: Burglary of a Building, Burglary of a Habitation, and Burglary of a Vehicle. They all have the same premise: burglary occurs when you enter the car, habitation or vehicle without permission with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein.
Burglary of a Habitation is by far the most serious of the three, as it is either a 2nd degree felony, which carries a punishment range of 2 to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine, or possibly a 1st degree felony, which carries a punishment range of 5 to 99 years and up to a $10,000 fine, if the offender enters the habitation with the intent to commit a felony other than theft. It is easier than you think to find yourself in the midst of a burglary charge when dealing with a habitation. There have been cases of people getting into physical confrontations on the porch of a house, falling into the house, and assuming there was a weapon or serious physical injury, all of a sudden they are charged with a burglary. This is an area where an aggressive prosecutor can overcharge you in order to get a more serious conviction. This is a very serious charge and requires a diligent defense in order to establish your innocence.
Burglary of a Building in Texas is a State Jail level Felony, carrying with it a punishment range of 180 days to 2 years and up to a $10,000 fine. As with burglary of a Habitation, you do not even need to successfully pull off the felony or theft in the building in order to complete the burglary. It is enough that you have the intent to do so when you unlawfully enter the premises. For that matter, you can be charged with burglary for not even making it all the way into the building. If you pry open a screen door, for instance, but do not make it through the actual door of the building, you can be charged with burglary.
Burglary of a Vehicle is a Class A Misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors, like multiple convictions or the vehicle is a rail car, carrying with it a punishment range of up to a year and a $4,000 fine.
With any Burglary charge, you need to defend the case on two fronts- the entry and the intent to commit a crime when in the structure. If you defeat either one it is not a burglary, and the prosecution needs to reduce the charge or dismiss the case. I am not afraid to take your burglary charge to a jury to get you justice. Call me today to discuss your Burglary charge; we need to get started immediately preparing your defense and examining the evidence against you.
Shawn H. Smith is an experienced Criminal Defense attorney serving San Antonio, Seguin, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Floresville and more. Call today for your free consultation, available nights and weekends for your convenience.