Burglary of Habitation

Most people have a very general idea of what burglary is but the definition and classifications vary by state. In Texas, the definition is broad and the penalties are severe. At Peveto Law, we are determined to help those facing burglary charges understand their rights, legal options, and best strategies.

What is burglary in Texas?

Burglary is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.02 as when someone, without the consent of the owner:

  1. Enters a habitation or building not then open to the public with the intent to commit a theft, felony, or assault; or
  2. Remains concealed within a habitation with the intent to commit a theft, felony, or assault; or
  3. Enters a building or habitation and either commits or attempt to commit a theft, felony, or assault.

It is important to know that the accused need not have fully entered the premises to be charged. The definition of “enter” includes intruding any part of the body or any physical object connected to the body.

Burglary of habitation Texas laws

The definition of burglary in Texas includes unlawful entry into another’s building, whether or not it is a habitation. When the entry is a habitation – a structure or vehicle adapted for overnight accommodations – then the resulting crime is often referred to as a burglary of habitation.

Though burglary of habitation in Texas is a type of burglary, it is a more serious offense than a burglary that does not involve a habitation.

Other burglary offenses

There are two other, lesser, burglary offenses under the Texas Penal Code. Burglary of Coin-Operated or Coin Collection Machines, Section 30.03, makes it a crime to break or enter into a coin-operated or other amusement equipment in order to obtain property or services. Section 30.04, Burglary of Vehicles, makes it illegal to break into or enter any part of a vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Burglary charges in Texas

The penalty for burglary depends on the type of burglary at issue. Depending on the circumstances, the charges can be classified as a state felony, second degree felony, or first-degree felony. At Peveto Law, we understand the serious impact that a burglary conviction can have on your future and skillfully advocate for the most beneficial outcome possible. When circumstances allow, we will fight to avoid a conviction altogether. In other cases, we work to have the charges reduced to minimize the impact they have on your life.

Classification of burglary charges:

  • Location – building other than a habitation: State jail felony
  • Location – a habitation: Second degree felony
  • Location – a habitation; if the perpetrator committed or intended to commit a felony crime other than felony theft: First degree felony

Conviction of a second-degree felony carries a sentence of 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If the conviction is a first-degree felony, the prison sentence can be 5-99 years, plus a fine up to $10,000. Speaking with a TX criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, even before charges are officially filed, is the best way to minimize the likelihood of a long sentence.

Criminal trespass Texas laws

Criminal trespass is defined at Section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code. It is similar to burglary but does not require the commission or intent to commit a crime. To prove criminal trespass, a prosecutor needs to prove the following elements:

  1. The person entered or remained on another’s property (including a building, residential land, agricultural land, an RV park, aircraft, or other vehicle) without effective consent; and
  2. He or she had notice that entry was forbidden or received notice to depart but did not.

Unlike burglary offenses, entry for criminal trespass purposes requires intrusion of the entire body. Notice that entry is forbidden includes written or oral communication but can also include fencing, a sign, or visible purple painted marks that comply with requirements of the statute.

Penalties for criminal trespass

Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor but the degree depends on the circumstances. If there are no aggravating factors, it is a Class B misdemeanor. If it is committed on certain classifications of property or while carrying a weapon, it may be instead classified as a Class C or Class A misdemeanor. Penalties therefore can range from a fine of $500 to up to 1 year in jail plus a fine of up to $4,000.

There are many defenses to a criminal trespass charge so it is important to speak with a Texas criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.

Discuss your case with a Texas burglary lawyer

Texas is known across the country for its tough stance on crime. Those accused of burglary, criminal trespass, or another property crime in Plano need a lawyer who knows the ropes. At Peveto Law, we have over a decade of experience providing caring yet aggressive defense. Take an active role in your defense; call today to speak with a Texas theft lawyer.

Additional Texas burglary resources:

  1. Texas Constitution & Statutes, Penal Code Title 7 Offenses Against Property Chapter 30 Burglary and Criminal Trespass, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.30.htm
  2. Texas Attorney General, Penal Code Offenses by Punishment Range, https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/files/divisions/criminal-justice/PenalCode-Offenses-byRange.pdf