What Exactly Does "Burglary" Mean in Texas? | Karnes County Defense Attorney

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What Exactly Does "Burglary" Mean in Texas?

 Posted on November 22,2021 in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerThe definition of a “burglary” can vary wildly between states. The general consensus is that burglary is a felony committed when a person breaks into a structure intending to commit another crime inside. Some states are very specific about what type of structure is covered under the burglary statute. Others are particular about what type of crime the offender must be planning to commit once inside. If you have been accused of committing burglary, you may have a lot of questions about why you have been charged with this crime. It is best to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can assess how the Texas burglary statute applies to your case and begin preparing your defense.

What Is the Legal Definition of Burglary in Texas?

In Texas, burglary means unlawfully entering or staying in a building with the intent to commit theft, assault, or any felony. Traditionally, people think of burglaries as being limited to home invasions for the purpose of stealing a family’s things. However, the legal definition of burglary in Texas is not nearly so limited. The building or structure targeted need not be a residential dwelling - retail stores, financial institutions, office buildings, or any other public or private building may count for the purposes of a burglary charge. Even a vehicle like an RV or camper that is designed for use as temporary accommodations.

Intending to commit a crime inside is another important element of burglary. Theft, assault, or any felony can count as the planned crime for purposes of a burglary charge. This is where some defendants may become confused about why they are charged with burglary. Many believe that if they did not mean to take anything or hurt anyone, they are not committing burglary. However, felonies like selling narcotics and stalking-related offenses are routinely committed inside structures that no one had a legal right to be in. In Texas, that could be a burglary.

Also, note that unlawfully remaining inside a structure counts just the same as unlawfully entering - so concealing yourself until an establishment closes or refusing to leave a private residence could result in a burglary charge. “Breaking in” is also not required. Entering through an unlocked door or using an old key you do not have permission to use anymore both meet the “unlawful entry” requirement.

The bottom line is that there is a wide range of conduct that could fall under Texas’s burglary statute. Burglary is always a felony but could be charged as a first, second, or third-degree felony depending on the circumstances. Unlawfully entering a store while it is closed is likely to be treated as less serious than breaking into an occupied home. However, both are still the crime of burglary.

Call a Karnes County Felony Defense Attorney

If you are facing burglary charges, you will need an experienced Karnes City felony defense lawyer to fight for you. BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys will aggressively defend you and strive to secure the best possible outcome. Call 830-769-1010 to schedule a free consultation.





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