What is Burglary of a Habitation?

Burglary of Habitation Meaning

Most individuals have a rough understanding of what burglary is. However, definitions and classifications differ by state. The definition in Texas is broad, and the consequences are harsh. We are committed to assisting clients facing burglary charges in understanding their rights, legal alternatives, and best methods.

What is Burglary in Texas?

In Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, burglary is defined as when someone, without the consent of the owner:

  1. Enters a habitation or building not then open to the public with the intent to commit a theft, felony, assault; or
  2. Remains concealed within a habitation with the intent to commit a theft, felony, assault; or
  3. Enters a building or habitation and either commits or attempts to commit a theft, felony, or assault.

Understanding that the accused does not have to have fully entered the premises to be prosecuted is critical. Invading any part of the body or any physical object connected to the body is included in the meaning of “enter.”

What is Burglary of Habitation?

Burglary of Habitation is a serious offense in Texas defined as unauthorized entry into a habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. A habitation is defined as a structure or vehicle adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons, such as a house, apartment, or RV.

It is important to note that the intent to commit a crime must exist at entry. In other words, it is not considered Burglary of Habitation if the intent to commit a crime is formed after entry into the habitation. It is also unnecessary for the crime to be completed for a person to be charged with Burglary of Habitation. Intending to commit the crime upon entry is enough to warrant a charge.

Burglary of Habitation Texas laws

In Texas, burglary involves unlawful access into another’s building, whether or not it is a dwelling. When the entrance is into a dwelling – a structure or vehicle designed for nightly use – the subsequent crime is commonly referred to as a burglary of a habitation.

Though burglary of habitation is a form of burglary in Texas, it is a more serious crime than burglary without a habitation.

The penalties for Burglary of Habitation in Texas are severe and can range from a state jail felony to a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense. A state jail felony carries a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a maximum sentence of two years in jail, while a first-degree felony carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

If you are facing charges of Burglary of Habitation in Texas, it is important to understand your legal rights and potential defenses. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Difference between burglary and robbery

Burglary and robbery are two separate offenses in the eyes of the law in Texas, and it’s important to understand the difference between them. The main distinction is that burglary involves unlawful entry into a building or habitation with the intent to commit a crime. In contrast, robbery involves taking or attempting to take property from another person through force or threats.

Simply put, burglary is a crime against property, while robbery is a crime against a person. For example, if someone breaks into a house to steal money or goods, that would be considered burglary. On the other hand, if someone confronts the homeowner while inside the house and demands money or other valuables, that would be considered robbery.

It’s worth noting that burglary can occur even without theft. If the intent to commit a crime is present at the time of the unlawful entry, that’s enough to satisfy the elements of burglary. In contrast, robbery requires force or threats to take property from another person, so it cannot occur without a victim.

Understanding the difference between burglary and robbery is crucial for building a defense strategy. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the nuances of the law and build a defense tailored to your specific case.

Elements of Burglary of Habitation

Burglary of Habitation is a serious crime in Texas, and it is important to understand its different elements to avoid legal issues. The elements of Burglary of Habitation include entering a habitation without the owner’s consent, intending to commit theft or any other felony, and remaining in the habitation with the intention to commit theft or any other felony. A habitation refers to any structure or vehicle designed or adapted for people to live in, such as a house, apartment, or mobile home. It is also worth noting that the degree of felony varies based on the circumstances of the crime, such as whether the habitation was occupied or not, whether a deadly weapon was involved, and whether the offender had prior convictions.

Moreover, it is crucial to understand that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the intent to commit a theft or other felony. Therefore, it is possible to mount a defense by arguing that there was no intent to commit a crime or that the defendant had consent from the owner to enter the habitation. Additionally, a defense attorney can challenge the prosecution’s evidence or the legality of the search and seizure that led to the arrest.

Penalties of Burglary of Habitation in Texas

In Texas, burglary of habitation is considered a serious crime, and the penalties can be severe. The severity of the penalties can be determined by several factors, including the type of dwelling that was burglarized, whether weapons were used, and if anyone was injured during the burglary.

Typically, burglary of a habitation is categorized as a second-degree felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the burglary involved a deadly weapon, it can be considered a first-degree felony, and the punishment can include life imprisonment without parole or even the death penalty.

Additionally, if the offender has a prior criminal record, the penalties for burglary of habitation can be even more severe. For instance, if the offender has a prior conviction for a felony offense, the punishment can be increased up to 99 years in prison.

Other felony burglaries

Under the Texas Penal Code, there are two other, less serious burglary charges. Section 30.03, Burglary of Coin-Operated or Coin Collection Machines, makes it a crime to break or enter a coin-operated or another amusement machine to get property or services. Burglary of Vehicles, Section 30.04, makes it illegal to break into or enter any portion of a vehicle with the aim to conduct a criminal or theft.

Texas burglary charges

The penalty for burglary is determined by the sort of burglary committed. The charges can be classed as a state felony, a second-degree felony, or a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. Criminal attorneys understand the devastating consequences of a burglary conviction on your future and will carefully advocate for the best possible conclusion. When the circumstances permit, we will strive to prevent a conviction entirely. In other circumstances, we work to lower the charges to lessen their impact on your life.

Burglary charges are classified as follows:

  • Location – building other than a habitation: State jail felony
  • Location – a habitation: Second-degree felony
  • Location – a habitation; if the perpetrator committed or intended to commit a felony crime other than felony theft: First-degree felony

Conviction of a second-degree felony entails a jail sentence of 2-20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted of a first-degree crime, the jail sentence might range from 5-99 years, with a fine of up to $10,000. The best method to reduce the likelihood of a long sentence is to consult with a TX criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, even before charges are officially filed.

Texas Criminal Trespass Statutes

Section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code defines criminal trespass. It is similar to burglary but does not need the conduct of a crime or the intent to commit one. A prosecution must prove the following criteria to establish criminal trespass:

The individual entered or remained on another’s property (including a building, residential land, agricultural land, an RV park, airplane, or another vehicle) without effective consent, and he or she was given notice that entry was prohibited or was given the notice to leave but did not.

In contrast to burglary offenses, criminal trespass demands the intrusion of the complete body. Notice that access is prohibited and involves both written and spoken communication, but it can also include fencing, a sign, or visible purple-painted markers that conform with the statute’s requirements.

Criminal trespass penalties

Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor. However, the severity varies according to the circumstances. It is a Class B misdemeanor if there are no aggravating elements. It may instead be categorized as a Class C or Class A misdemeanor if done on specific types of property or while carrying a firearm. Penalties range from a $500 fine to up to a year in jail plus a $4,000 fine.

There are numerous defenses to a criminal trespass allegation. Thus, consulting with a Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is critical.

Defenses against Burglary of Habitation charges

If you are facing a burglary of habitation charge in Texas, it’s important to understand that defenses are available. These defenses can be used to challenge the prosecution’s case and potentially reduce or dismiss the charges against you. The following are some common defenses against burglary of habitation charges:

  1. Lack of intent: If you did not have the intent to commit a crime when entering a habitation, you might be able to argue that you did not commit burglary of habitation. For example, if you entered a friend’s house to retrieve a lost item and did not intend to steal anything, you may be able to use this defense.
  2. Consent: If the owner of the habitation gave you permission to enter, you cannot be charged with burglary of habitation. For example, if you were hired to clean a house or fix something and the owner gave you access, you cannot be charged with burglary of habitation.
  3. Mistaken identity: If you can prove that you were not the person who committed the burglary of a habitation, you may be able to use the defense of mistaken identity. This defense is often used in cases where the prosecution relies on witness identification.
  4. Illegal search and seizure: If the evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, it could not be used against you in court. For example, if the police entered a house without a warrant or probable cause, any evidence they find cannot be used to charge you with burglary of habitation.

Consult with a Texas burglary attorney about your case.

Texas is regarded throughout the country for taking a harsh stance on crime. Those accused of burglary, criminal trespass, or similar property crime in Plano require the assistance of an experienced attorney.  Take an active role in your defense by contacting a Texas theft lawyer today.

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