Have You Been Accused of Burglary?
Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C., Criminal Defense Law Firm
Experienced Texas Burglary Attorneys
Since 1995 criminal defense trial attorney Paul Looney has litigated
60 criminal jury trials with zero final convictions.
Burglary is one of the most common crimes in the United States. Burglary and attempted burglary are theft charges; however they are treated more severely than typical theft cases because they also contain elements of trespassing (the accused was somewhere he or she had no right to be while attempting to do something illegal as in a home burglary).
Texas Burglary Laws
Common law burglary used to be defined as the breaking and entering of the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a theft or other felony. Texas departs from the common law definition of burglary and now has three separate definitions. Sufficient proof of any one is enough to convict a person of burglary.
Burglary in Texas is defined as:
- Entering a habitation, a building, or any part of a building not open to the public and without consent of the property owner, with the intent to commit a felony, a theft, or an assault,
- Remaining concealed in a building or habitation with the intent to commit a felony, a theft, or an assault, or
- Entering a building or habitation and committing or attempting to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
It is important to note that if any part of the body or any object being held or somehow attached to the body of the burglar has entered the building, the person may still be charged with burglary.
For example, if a person is holding a flashlight and placed it INTO a door or window of a house or building that is not open to the public, he or she can still be charged with burglary. However, holding the same flashlight up to a closed window to look inside will not amount to burglary.
Any building can be burglarized, however, substantially more severe penalties attach to the burglary of an inhabited dwelling (home) than attach to the burglary of an uninhabited structure.
Burglary of a Habitation
Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison. However, burglary of a habitation becomes a first degree felony punishable by 5-99 years or life if:
- The premises are a habitation; AND
- Any party to the offense entered the habitation with intent to commit a felony OTHER THAN felony theft or committed or attempted to commit a felony other than felony theft.
Therefore, the use of a deadly weapon in the burglary of the habitation can contribute to the intent to commit a felony other than felony theft but does not by itself make the burglary of a habitation a first degree felony. The exception to this would be if the person carrying the deadly weapon was a felon because a felon in possession of a firearm is a felony in Texas.
Burglary of a Commercial Building Where Controlled Substances are Stored
An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if:
- the premises are a commercial building in which a controlled substance is generally stored, including a pharmacy, clinic, hospital, nursing facility, or warehouse; and
- the person entered or remained concealed in that building with intent to commit a theft of a controlled substance
Burglary of a Vehicle
Another common Texas burglary offense is burglary of a vehicle. This occurs when a person breaks into or enters a car without the owner’s permission, with intent to commit a felony or a theft. Generally this is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a potential 1 year in jail. However, if a person has two or more similar convictions on his or her record, that person can be charged with a state jail felony and face 2 years in a state jail.
The offense is a felony of the third degree if:
- the vehicle broken into or entered is owned or operated by a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs; and
- the actor breaks into or enters that vehicle with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance.
Texas Burglary Penalties
Being charged with burglary in Texas means severe penalties and lifelong consequences as Texas is one of the strictest states for crime and punishment. Charges could result in life imprisonment. A burglary charge is not the same as a burglary conviction. There are options.
A large percentage of burglary charges end in conviction (over 90%). The Best Burglary Attorneys Houston at Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. need to be consulted for this serious allegation. In some cases, Paul Looney, Wade Smith and Clay Conrad have been able to get the charges dismissed, some cases have ended with an acquittal, and some with a favorable plea. The Houston Burglary Attorneys at Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C., will review the facts of the case and offer the right course of action for the best possible outcome.
Are you looking for a Criminal Defense law firm? Call us today (281) 597-8818 in Houston or (979) 826-8484 in Hempstead.
We are Criminal Lawyers Near 77079 and Criminal Lawyers Near 77445.
When you need the Best Burglary Lawyer, contact:
Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. at 281-597-8818 or 979-826-8484 or text us at 405-388-6191.
Our experienced Burglary Attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a
free, no-obligation case evaluation.
We serve Houston, the State of Texas and the entire United States.
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