Burglary Penalties in Texas

Burglary Penalties in Texas

In the state of Texas, an individual commits burglary if he or she enters someone's home or another building that is not open to the public with the purpose of committing theft, assault or a felony—whether or not the person actually carried out the intended action. In addition to entering the building, a person can also commit burglary by hiding inside such a facility with the same intentions, according to Texas Penal Code §30.02.

The penalties a person can receive for a burglary conviction depends on where the offense was committed, along with other factors. If it was committed in a home, it is considered a second degree felony. This type of felony is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000. If the burglary offense was committed in any building other than a home, it is considered a state jail felony. A state jail felony can lead to confinement in a state jail for 180 days to 2 years and a potential fine of up to $10,000.

It is important to note that a burglary in a person's home can be bumped up to a first degree felony if it the offender committed (or entered with the intention of committing) any felony other than felony theft. A conviction under this felony classification can lead to 5 to 99 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Other factors that can also lead to more serious penalties in burglary convictions include the use of a deadly weapon and previous criminal history.

In addition to buildings, vehicles and other types of property can also be burglarized. According to Texas Penal Code §30.04, it is a crime to break into or enter a vehicle with the purpose of stealing property or committing a felony. This offense is counted as a Class A misdemeanor on a first offense, which can result in a sentence of confinement in jail for up to a year and/or a fine of up to $4,000. If the individual has a previous burglary conviction, the offense is counted as a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum term of six months. The crime becomes a state jail felony if the offender has two or more previous burglary convictions, or if the vehicle that was burglarized was a rail car. Coin-operated and coin collection machines are also protected under Texas law against burglary.

As noted by the FBI website, burglaries accounted for 23.8% of property crimes nationwide in 2010. Of all the burglaries that occurred, 73.9% occurred at residential properties. In 2010, burglary victims (on a nationwide scale) suffered a total of $4.6 billion in lost property, with the average dollar loss per burglary amounting to $2,119. Because of such losses, prosecutors and victims are often overly eager to catch the culprit, which can sometimes lead to false allegations.

You do not want to let a burglary conviction negatively affect your life. It is in your best interests to hire a competent criminal defense lawyer who can help you challenge your charges and reduce your chances of being convicted. With the help of a strong legal representative, it might be possible to show that you were misidentified as the burglar or that you were actually given permission to enter the vehicle. In other situations, it is sometimes possible to get criminal charges dismissed due to errors made by law enforcement during the arrest process. At The Zendeh Law Firm, PLLC, our knowledgeable Plano criminal defense attorney can help you determine the defense tactics that best meet your particular circumstances.

In addition to burglary, our law firm handles charges for many other types of theft crimes as well. Some of those include charges for shoplifting, robbery and theft by check, among other offenses. Don't hesitate to call our office so you can learn more about the types of cases we handle. We handle cases throughout the state of Texas.