In the State of Texas, burglary is a major crime. Referred to as “burglary of habitation” under Texas law, the state penal code outlines what burglary is and what the penalties are for the crime. Read on to learn more about burglary charges in Texas.
Basically, burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into any building, with the intent to commit an assault, theft, or felony upon gaining access to the space. Burglary of habitation is when this crime is committed without consent or permission from the legal owner of a building or resident of a private home. In Texas, burglary of habitation most commonly is charged when someone enters the home of another person with the intention of committing theft, even if theft does not occur.
Burglary of a building in Texas is an automatic felony offense. Home invasion is a type of burglary that by itself is a second-degree felony, resulting from charges of entering a home and remaining there with an intent to commit a separate felony. But if the burglar intends the separate, follow-on felony to be anything other than theft, the charges are escalated and the crime is designated as a first-degree felony offense. While the specific charges depend on the individual situation, a burglary conviction is serious, no matter what actually occurred in the course of the offense. The penalties for a burglary conviction depend on the details of each case as well, though both jail time and fines are almost always assigned.
- RELATED: Burglary and Sexual Assault
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BURGLARY AND ROBBERY
In the Lone Star State, burglary and robbery are both theft-related crimes. However, under the law, these crimes are defined differently from one another. Burglary is defined as an act of stealing (or committing an assault or other felony) from someone’s residence, business, or vehicle, and robbery is defined as an act of stealing from an individual while using force. Burglary is most often designated as a property crime (when the follow-on felony is theft), while robbery is designated a violent crime. That said, burglary has the potential to become a violent crime if the burglar encounters occupants of the building. The main thing to remember is that robbery is a crime against a person, while burglary is a crime against a building or thing.
ROBBERY AND BURGLARY: DEFINITIONS IN TEXAS LAW
A person commits an offense if, in the course of committing theft with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
BURGLARY. (a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person:
(1) enters a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or
(2) remains concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault, in a building or habitation; or
(3) enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
You should secure the services of a reputable criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested and are facing burglary charges in Austin, Texas. Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is the attorney to call in Austin or the surrounding area. He has over a decade of experience handling cases like yours. Contact Erskine Law for a free consultation, to discuss your situation and to get advice about how to reach the best possible outcome in your burglary case.