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. Under Texas law, a person commits this offense if, without the effective 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, contrivance, apparatus, or equipment 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.
How a Coin-Operated Machine is Defined
A coin-operated machine can include a variety of devices that are commonly known as vending machines, which can operate either on coins or paper currency. They provide goods or services.
- For Example: You commit burglary of a coin-operated machine if you break into a vending machine to steal candy, or if you break into a coin-operated scale in an attempt to obtain the money inside.
What Constitutes “Entry”?
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.
- For Example: You commit burglary if you take hammer and break the glass of a vending machine while attempting to obtain its contents.
- For Example: You can also commit this crime if you take a coat hanger and you try to get the contents of the vending machine without actually causing damage to it.
How is Intent Defined for Burglarizing a Coin-Operated Machine?
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.
- For Example: Bob has intent to break into the coin-operated machine to obtain M&M’s. While Bob is trying to fish out some M&M’s with a coat hanger, the alarm goes off and Bob runs away. Bob will still be found to have acted with the required intent to commit this crime, even though he failed to obtain goods or services.
Possible Punishments in Fort Worth
This crime is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor offense, the most significant type of misdemeanor in Texas. There are several types of penalties involved for this type of crime that can be either combined or ordered separately: fines, jail, probation and restitution.
- Fines: A Class A Misdemeanor offense in Texas has a potential fine of up to $4,000.
- Jail: Convictions for a misdemeanor offense can result in up to a year in a county jail. Jail sentences can be imposed in addition to fines or they can be given as a separate punishment.
- For Example: A Texas court may sentence someone convicted of a burglary of coin-operated machine to a $1,000 fine, while someone else also convicted of the same crime to 60 days in jail.
- Restitution: This type of a penalty is common when someone commits a crime that results in property damage or the loss of property. If ordered restitution, one must pay a specific amount of money that is designed to compensate the owner for the loss of property or the expenses associated with the damage. Restitution must be paid in addition to any fines or jail time.
- Probation: Probation sentences usually last at least 12 months, but there is a possibility for an even longer probation sentence of 24 months, 36 months or even longer. The court will require a person on probation to comply with a wide range of probation conditions such as maintaining employment, not committing more crimes, reporting to a probation officer, paying all fines and restitution and performing community service. Violation of probation can result in additional penalties, such as increased fines or having to serve the remainder of the sentence in jail.
Defending Against Charges for Burglary of a Coin-Operated Machine in Fort Worth
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), having consent of the owner of the machine, voluntary intoxication and entrapment.