What constitutes burglary of a building in Texas?
While most people think of burglary as a form of theft, the definition of burglary of a building in Texas is far more expansive. Burglary of a building is the entry into a building, or a portion of a building, without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
Burglary of a building does not require the complete entry into a building. In other words, reaching in a window or a door is sufficient to meet the definition of burglary of a building. Similarly, entering any portion of a building is sufficient.
Entering a business after hours, entering a portion of the building not open to the general public, or staying in a business after it has closed, without the consent of the owner, all are forms of “unlawful entry” for purposes of the burglary statute. Three examples of “entering” are as follows:
- A person breaks a window and enters a bar after hours with the intent to take money;
- A person enters a storeroom during business hours when the storeroom is off-limits to customers and is intended for employees only with the intent to take supplies;
- A person hides in a restroom of a department store and remains in the store after the store has closed waiting to commit theft.
“Entry” has a broad definition for purposes of burglary. Under the statute, if any part of the body, or any physical object connected with the body, “crosses the plane” to the interior of the building, entry is complete. Here are three examples of a completed burglary:
- A person enters in one of the manners describes above, and takes something of value and leaves the business;
- A person walks in the door uninvited with the intent to beat up one of the occupants.
What is the punishment for burglary of a building?
Burglary of a building is a state jail felony, which is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine. This should not be confused with burglary of a habitation – which is a structure in which someone sleeps or resides – which is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of burglary of a building, it’s important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified criminal lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
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Also published on Medium.