Larry P. McDougal
Larry P. McDougal - Attorney at Law
Richmond, Texas
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Definition of burglary under Texas law

A person may receive a burglary charge in Texas if they enter a building or habitation without the owner's consent with the intention of committing a crime. The person's intended crime may be theft, but it could also be assault or vandalism. An accused person may be charged with burglary regardless of whether or not the intended crime was actually carried out.

In order for a person to be found guilty of burglary, they would have to physically enter the building or habitation. According to Texas criminal law, to enter means to intrude with any part of the body or any physical object that has a direct connection to the body.

A person may also receive a burglary charge for breaking into or entering a vehicle without the consent of the vehicle owner. The same definition of 'enter" applies for the burglary of a vehicle as applies for the burglary of a building. If an individual breaks into or enters some type of coin-operated machine, law enforcement may also hand that person a charge for burglary. A case involving unlawful entry into a coin-collecting device would be a Class A misdemeanor.

A person who has been charged for burglary involving a building or habitation may be able to have their charge reduced to trespass by arguing that they had no intention of committing a theft or any other crime on the premises. A criminal defense attorney might be able to help a defendant by challenging the prosecution to present evidence of the defendant's alleged criminal intentions. If the defendant was not carrying any type of weapon during the incident, this fact may help their case.

Source: Texas Penal Code, "Title 7. Offenses against Property", October 20, 2014

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