Burglary Of A Building In Texas

While most people think of burglary as a form of theft, the definition of burglary of a building in Texas is far more expansive. Burglary of a building is the entry into a building, or a portion of a building, without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault.

Burglary of a Building

Burglary in Texas is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 30.02. It is characterized as unauthorized entry into a building with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault. This definition extends beyond mere theft, encompassing any criminal intent upon entry. The scope of this law is broad, applying to various forms of unlawful entry and different types of buildings.

If you were charged with this offense, it’s important to reach out to a skilled burglary lawyer for assistance as soon as possible. The earlier you can start preparing your defense, the better off you will be in the long run.

burglary of a building in texas


How is Burglary of a Building Defined?

Burglary of a building does not require the complete entry into a building. In other words, reaching into a window or a door is sufficient to meet the definition of burglary of a building. Similarly, entering any portion of a building is sufficient.

The primary legal reference for burglary in Texas is the Texas Penal Code Section 30.02. This section provides the legal framework for what constitutes burglary, the required elements for a charge, and the associated penalties. It is crucial to understand the nuances of burglary laws in Texas.

Entering a business after hours, entering a portion of the building not open to the general public, or staying in a business after it has closed, without the consent of the owner, all are forms of “unlawful entry” for purposes of the burglary statute. Three examples of “entering” are as follows:

  • A person breaks a window and enters a bar after hours with the intent to take money;
  • A person enters a storeroom during business hours when the storeroom is off-limits to customers and is intended for employees only with the intent to take supplies;
  • A person hides in a restroom of a department store and remains in the store after the store has closed waiting to commit theft.

How is “Entry” Defined in Terms of this Scenario?

“Entry” has a broad definition for purposes of burglary. Under the statute, if any part of the body, or any physical object connected with the body, “crosses the plane” to the interior of the building, entry is complete. Here are two examples of a completed burglary:

  • A person enters in one of the manners describes above, and takes something of value and leaves the business;
  • A person walks in the door uninvited with the intent to beat up one of the occupants.

“Entry” in the context of burglary is interpreted broadly. It includes complete or partial entry into a building. This can be as minimal as reaching through an open window or inserting a tool or instrument through a door crack. The law focuses on the violation of physical boundaries with criminal intent, regardless of the degree of entry.

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Intent in Burglary of a Building

Intent plays a crucial role in burglary charges. The intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault must exist at the time of entry. However, intent formed during the act, such as deciding to steal after unlawfully entering, can also lead to burglary charges. This distinction is vital in legal proceedings and affects the strategy for defense.

Burglary vs. Trespassing

While both burglary and trespassing involve unauthorized entry, key differences lie in intent and potential consequences. Trespassing typically involves entering or remaining on a property without consent but lacks the specific intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. Burglary, by contrast, requires this criminal intent, making it a more serious offense.

Burglary of Habitation vs. Building in Texas

Burglary of a habitation and burglary of a building are distinct in legal terms. Burglary of a habitation, involving entry into a place where someone lives (like a house or apartment), is generally treated more severely, often resulting in higher penalties. The evidence required to prove habitation burglary typically needs to demonstrate the residential nature of the structure and the defendant’s intent at the time of entry.

What are the Potential Punishments for Burglary of a Building in Texas?

Burglary of a building is a state jail felony, which is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine. This should not be confused with burglary of a habitation – which is a structure in which someone sleeps or resides – which is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.

State Jail Felony

Building a Defense for a Burglary of a Building Charge

If you have been charged with burglary of a building in north Texas, reach out to our dedicated legal team for assistance with your case. Call today for a free consultation.

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