Is Burglary a Felony in Texas?

man using crowbar to break in

Unfortunately, many are under the misconception that theft crimes are always petty offenses committed by teenagers looking to rebel against their parents. However, stealing of any nature can warrant serious charges, so understanding what penalties you can face when facing a burglary conviction is critical. The following blog explores what warrants a burglary charge in Texas, what the potential penalties are, and how Houston burglary defense attorneys may be able to find a defense that works for your circumstances.

What Constitutes Burglary in Texas?

Unfortunately, many are unaware of the differences between theft, robbery, and burglary in Texas. As such, someone can face a burglary charge when they enter a building or habitation without the consent of the owner with intent to commit a felony offense, assault, or theft. It’s important to understand that burglary can occur on any portion of someone’s property and is not limited to their dwelling.

Most commonly, someone is charged with burglary when they break into another person’s home with the express intent of stealing from the homeowner. However, if someone breaks in with the intent to commit assault against a person inside the dwelling, this also constitutes burglary.

What Penalties Can I Face if Charged?

Burglary is always a felonious offense in Texas. However, the degree of felony you will face for your actions depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, if you break into an unauthorized building that is not a habitation, like a warehouse, for example, this is charged as a state jail felony. You could face six months to two years for this offense, which is the least severe of the burglary charges.

If you commit burglary to a habitation, meaning a home or where someone resides, without committing an additional felony, you will face a second-degree felony. This carries up to two to twenty years in prison. However, if you have intent to or attempt to commit another felony in the process, this is a first-degree felony charge. You will face five years to life in prison, but the consequences will increase if the other felony offense is a sexual crime.

Are There Any Potential Defenses?

Though it may not seem possible, there are potential defenses that could apply to your circumstances. Most commonly, you can claim that you did have permission to enter the building. For example, you may have been given consent to enter the property by the owner, and that consent was never explicitly revoked.

Additionally, you may be able to prove a lack of intent. If the state cannot prove that you entered the building with intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault, the charges against you may not hold up in a court of law.

It’s imperative to understand that when you are charged with burglary, you must connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, these charges can be intense and, as such, you can face a considerable amount of time in jail. At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand how complex these matters can be, which is why our team will do everything possible to assist you and craft a defense applicable to your circumstances. Contact us today to learn more.