Burglary of a Habitation in Texas
When most people hear the words “burglary of a habitation” they think of someone breaking into a home and stealing something. However, the definition of burglary in Texas is far broader and includes any entry into a home when the person has the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. In other words, nothing has to actually be taken. An experienced burglary attorney can help explain these nuances and guide you through the legal system.
Where is Burglary of a Habitation Defined in Texas?
The definition for burglary of a habitation can be found in Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, which states that a person commits an offense if he or she enters or remains concealed within a habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault, or once inside, they actually commit or attempt to commit a felony, theft, or assault.
How is a Habitation Defined?
A “habitation” means a structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons, and includes:
- each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and
- each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle. Garages are considered habitation, for example.
What is Entry into a Habitation?
Under Texas law, “entry into a habitation” occurs if any part of an individual’s body entered the habitation or any physical object connected to the individual entered the habitation. It is possible to be charged with burglary of a habitation without actually setting foot inside the home.
Burglary of a Habitation is generally a second-degree felony carrying a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
However, it can become a first-degree felony if the perpetrator commits or attempts to commit a felony other than theft. The punishment range for a first degree felony is up to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Burglary?
According to Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01, the statute of limitations for Burglary of a Habitation (where the felony intended, attempted or committed was not sexual assault of a child) in Texas is five years.
The five-year statute of limitations of Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault was recently eliminated in 2023 with TX HB 2019. Rape kits collected at the crime scenes were often untested, delayed for an extended period of time, or produced results that didn’t match a readily identifiable person. House Bill 2019 attempted to rectify this issue by eliminating the five-year statute of limitations in first-degree burglary offenses when DNA has been collected.