A criminal trespass offense in Texas involves a person entering or remaining on or on the property of another without effective consent and the person, but burglary relates to a person entering or remaining on or on the property of another while having the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault. Burglary thus is a crime that requires a prosecutor to prove two separate elements of a crime: unlawful entry into a building and the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
It is important to understand that a burglary does not need to be successfully completed for a person to face burglary charges. The intent of alleged offenders is very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, so prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence in these cases.
Burglary Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, and Southlake, TX
Were you arrested for an alleged burglary in Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Arlington, or a surrounding area of Tarrant County, Texas? You will need to make sure you invest in a criminal defense attorney.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can conduct an independent investigation into the charges against you and determine the strongest possible defense against the charges. You can have us look at your case and discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Burglary Charges in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code § 30.02(a), a person commits a burglary offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, they:
- enter a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault;
- remain concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault, in a building or habitation; or
- enter a building or habitation and commit or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
Texas Penal Code § 30.02(b) establishes that “enter” means to intrude:
- any part of the body; or
- any physical object connected with the body.
Burglary is a state jail felony if committed in a building other than a habitation but is a second-degree felony if committed in a habitation. An offense becomes a third-degree felony 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 the intent to commit a theft of a controlled substance.
Burglary is a first-degree felony 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.
Under Texas Penal Code § 30.01(1), a habitation is defined as a structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons, and includes each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle. Texas Penal Code § 30.01(2) states that a building is defined as any enclosed structure intended for use or occupation as a habitation or for some purpose of trade, manufacture, ornament, or use.
A vehicle is defined under Texas Penal Code § 30.01(3) as including any device in, on, or by which any person or property is or may be propelled, moved, or drawn in the normal course of commerce or transportation, except such devices as are classified as “habitation.” A controlled substance has the meaning assigned by Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002, and a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs is defined as a wholesale distributor, as defined by Texas Health and Safety Code § 431.401.
Texas Penal Code § 30.03 establishes the crime of burglary of coin-operated machines. A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, they break or enter into any coin-operated machine, coin collection machine, or other coin-operated or coin collection receptacle, contrivance, apparatus, or equipment used for the purpose of providing lawful amusement, sales of goods, services, or other valuable things, or telecommunications with intent to obtain property or services.
The term “entry” includes every kind of entry except one made with the effective consent of the owner. A burglary of coin-operated machines offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Burglary of vehicles is a crime established under Texas Penal Code § 30.04. A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, they break into or enter a vehicle or any part of a vehicle with intent to commit any felony or theft.
For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude on any part of the body; or any physical object connected with the body. A container or trailer carried on a rail car is a part of the rail car.
A burglary of vehicles offense is a Class A misdemeanor, except that:
- the offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of six months if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the alleged offender has been previously convicted of burglary of vehicles offense;
- the offense is a state jail felony if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the alleged offender has been previously convicted two or more times of burglary of vehicles offense or the vehicle or part of the vehicle broken into or entered is a rail car; and
- the offense is a third-degree felony if the vehicle broken into or entered is owned or operated by a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs, and the alleged offender breaks into or enters that vehicle with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance.
An alleged offender has been previously convicted if they were adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision. It is a defense to prosecution that the alleged offender entered a rail car or any part of a rail car and was at that time an employee or a representative of employees exercising a right under the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. Section 151 et seq.).
Burglary Penalties in Fort Worth, TX
The possible consequences of a burglary conviction will depend on how the alleged crime was classified. Convictions are generally punishable as follows in Texas:
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
- State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
Sentences can also include terms of community service. Offenses involving property damage could also result in restitution to alleged victims being ordered, and restitution is paid to victims in addition to court fines and other fees.
Tarrant County Burglary Resources
Rollerson v. State, 227 SW 3d 718 – Tex: Court of Criminal Appeals 2007 — Kerry Larnez Rollerson was charged with committing three burglaries, two of which involved guns being stolen and one in which gun parts were left behind. The trial judge, in a consolidated trial, found him guilty of seven felony offenses relating to those three burglaries and also entered deadly-weapon findings in each of the seven judgments. In three separate published opinions — each dealing with an individual burglary — the court of appeals affirmed four of the felony convictions and reversed the other three for factual insufficiency, finding the evidence legally insufficient to support any of the deadly-weapon findings. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that the court of appeals correctly affirmed the convictions in one case, but was mistaken in its deadly-weapon statement in another case, thus affirming the former Norwell case but disavowing the court’s statement in the latter case that the State may not seek a deadly-weapon finding on the retrial of the burglary charge.
State v. Meru, 414 SW 3d 159 – Tex: Court of Criminal Appeals 2013 — Mark Meru was convicted of burglary of a habitation and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but he filed a motion for a new trial, complaining that the trial court erred in refusing to give the requested jury instruction on the lesser-included offense of criminal trespass. The trial court granted the motion for a new trial but the State appealed, arguing that criminal trespass cannot be a lesser-included offense of burglary because trespass requires intrusion of the defendant’s entire body while burglary only requires a partial intrusion of the body. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s order for a new trial. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, saying it improperly concluded that criminal trespass was a lesser-included offense of burglary of a habitation in this case. The Court of Criminal Appeals said Meru failed to demonstrate that criminal trespass is “established by proof of the same or less than all the facts required to establish the commission of the offense charged,” as required by Article 37.09(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Burglary Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for an alleged burglary in Tarrant County and Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, TX area? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as you possibly can.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has more than two decades of experience defending people in North Texas against criminal charges. You can have us review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.