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HOUSTON HOME BURGLARY ATTORNEY

Criminal Defense Law Firm in Texas

Burglary is a crime similar to criminal trespassing, albeit more heavily penalized. It is the prosecution’s burden to prove a defendant illegally entered a private building with the intention of stealing property. The intent to commit burglary is also classified as burglary, though often more difficult to prove in court.

The difference between criminal trespass and burglary is that burglary means the defendant had a clear motivation to commit a felony crime after entering the premises. It’s important to note that burglary doesn’t have to be theft. Committing any felony on private property while trespassing or engaging in assault is also considered burglary.

If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary, call (713) 489-2358 to schedule a consultation with experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Samuel M. Gardner.

COMPONENTS OF BURGLARY CASES

The prosecution must satisfy two key components for the defendant to be charged with burglary. The first is unlawful entry or trespass on private property. The second is criminal intent. Without meeting both elements, the defendant can’t be charged with burglary, though they could be charged with other offenses.

Unlawful entry may refer to forced entry, which is if the defendant physically broke a window or entered a door without permission or stayed on property after they are no longer permitted to be there. If someone hides in the storage room in a retail outlet until the rest of the employees go home, the defendant has committed unlawful entry.

The second element of burglary (intent) is decided by the defendant’s state of mind. The prosecution must be able to prove the defendant unlawfully entered a property with the goal of committing a theft, which is a felony. Premeditated actions, such as sealing locks with tape or shutting down surveillance systems before entering, can easily prove intent.

PENALTIES

Burglary penalties are dependent on the type of private property being illegally accessed. If the defendant entered a public building or private commercial property, they will be charged with a state jail felony. State jail felonies are marked on permanent records as felonies, but convicted defendants will serve their sentence in minimum-security jailhouses instead of prisons. Unlawfully entering a habitation is a second-degree felony.

State jail penalties are punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail. Second-degree felonies have maximum sentences of ten years in prison. The judge can also impose fines up to $10,000 for both. If the burglary is committed with a deadly weapon or the defendant is a repeat offender, the judge can change state jail felonies to a third degree felony.

AVAILABLE DEFENSES

The defense can argue that the defendant had no intent to commit a felony or theft after trespassing. In some cases the defense can also argue entrapment, either in conjunction with intent or as a standalone defense.

In rare circumstances the defendant may have made a mistake. If a man walking home from a nearby bar enters the wrong house, he could face lesser charges or negotiate a plea agreement.

The trespass can also be argued if the defendant has a reason for possibly being on the premises. Police, firefighters, social workers, or emergency personnel can argue against criminal trespass. These defenses also sometimes apply to utility and telecommunications workers.

Start discussing your defense strategy with an experienced Houston burglary lawyer at Samuel M. Gardner Attorney at Law. Call (713) 489-2358 today.

MY PRIMARY GOAL IS TO GET YOUR CASE DISMISSED

Take a look at our results.
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury / Injury to Public Servant
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Mistrial / Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Evading Arrest
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Felony Evading Arrest
  • Dismissed Accused of Forgery Government Financial Instrument
  • Dismissed Accused of Injury to Elderly
  • Dismissed Accused of Possession of a Controlled Substance 28-200g

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