For many, their home is a safe space where they can retreat at the end of the day and relax. That’s why burglary is considered an egregious crime, as it violates the privacy and safety of someone in their most vulnerable space. If you are facing a burglary charge, it’s essential to understand what penalties you can expect and whether or not there is a defense applicable to your circumstances. The following blog explores what you must know about these charges and why it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of Houston burglary defense attorneys.
What Warrants a Burglary Charge in Texas?
In Texas, a burglary occurs when someone enters a property without permission of the owner, with intent to commit a crime. Most commonly, this is associated with theft, as someone will enter a residential or commercial location with the intent to steal property.
It’s important to note that the law will still consider this burglary if the unauthorized party enters any part of the property, so long as they are entering a building or structure. As such, this differs from breaking into a vehicle, for example.
Additionally, there are factors that influence whether or not this is charged as a first- or second-degree crime. Generally, if the building is a habitation or the party intended to commit a felony other than theft, this is charged as first-degree burglary. If you enter with intent to commit theft, you will face a second-degree burglary charge.
However, if you enter any other type of structure that is not a habitation, this is charged as a state jail felony.
What Are the Penalties for this Offense?
If charged with first-degree burglary, you can face prison time ranging from five years to life in prison. A second-degree burglary charge warrants between two and twenty years in prison, while a state jail felony calls for 180 days to two years behind bars. Additionally, you can face a fine of up to $10,000 for each of these offenses.
Is It Possible to Create a Defense for This Charge?
If charged with burglary, there are two crucial elements that must be present – unauthorized entry to a property and intent to commit a crime. If you can demonstrate that one or both of these claims are inaccurate, you may be able to evade charges. Known as a lack of knowledge, you may be able to prove you have no idea the actions were illegal.
Additionally, you may be able to prove that this is a case of mistaken identity. If you can provide a verifiable alibi for the time of the crime, you may be able to have the charges against you dismissed or the jury will find you not guilty.
When you are facing burglary charges, it’s imperative to understand that you must consult an experienced attorney. Unfortunately, many assume they can navigate this process on their own, which is far from the truth. In reality, consulting with a criminal defense lawyer offers you the best opportunity to achieve a favorable outcome. At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand how complex these circumstances can be. That’s why our team is dedicated to doing everything possible to help you in these times. Contact us today to learn how we can represent you.