Breaking into a vending machine to get candy or a soda may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a crime in Texas. Under Texas law, a person can be charged with “burglary of a coin-operated machine” if without consent of the owner, he or she breaks or enters into any coin-operated machine, coin collection machine, or other coin-operated or coin collection receptacle used for the purpose of providing lawful amusement, sales of goods, services, or other valuable things, or telecommunications with intent to obtain property or services.
A coin-operated machine can include vending machines for food or drink, as well as other coin-operated devices such as washing machines at laundromats and arcade games. Coin-operated machines operate either on coins or paper currency and provide goods, services or amusement.
Burglary of a coin-operated machine does not necessarily have to include breaking and entering. Texas law specifically recognizes that any entry into a coin-operated machine can constitute a burglary. This means that you do not have to cause damage while attempting to get inside the machine nor do you have to actually steal anything. Our attorneys understand this distinction and use it to negotiate the best outcome in your case.
It is important to understand that it is not a crime to break or enter into a coin-operated machine if you have the consent of the owner. For it to be a crime, Texas law specifically requires that there is NO consent by the owner of the machine. The law also requires that there also be intent to obtain goods or services.
Breaking into a coin-operated machine is a Class A Misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor in Texas. There are several other types of penalties involved for this type of crime that can be either combined or ordered separately, including fines, jail time, probation and restitution.
For a burglary of a coin operate machine there are several possible defenses, such as negating one or more elements of burglary (lacking intent to commit theft) or having consent of the owner of the machine. If you have been arrested or charged with burglary of a coin-operated machine in Fort Worth, call our defense attorneys for assistance in understanding your charge and defending your case.