Experienced Attorneys Fighting Burglary Charges in Dallas
Theft can be prosecuted in several different ways in Texas. Prosecutors have their choice of a few distinct theft-related criminal statutes. While the definitions and penalties vary with each, the truth is that every theft charge needs to be taken seriously.
Burglary is considered a theft crime in Texas, but it is different in that the defendant can be convicted of burglary even if no property is taken. That surprises a lot of people, but as with any criminal inquiry, it all comes down to the facts of the case and the language in the statutes.
As you can imagine, state authorities are very tough on burglary in Texas. Police are quick to make arrests, and prosecutors are aggressive in going after burglary suspects.
Sadly, the state will sometimes pursue burglary charges in cases where the facts don’t really match the crime. Often, lesser charges are appropriate, but the state exaggerates its claims in the hopes of scoring a bigger conviction.
In other cases, the accused person hasn’t done anything wrong at all. Burglary allegations are sometimes the result of simple miscommunication, misunderstanding, or misidentification.
Whatever the case may be, if you are being charged with burglary in Texas, you should contact the Dallas burglary defense lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C. right away.
Our team offers years of experience, which we have dedicated to defending people in situations similar to yours. We believe in our clients, and our goal is to fight for them the way we’d fight for our own loved ones.
We care about what happens to you, and we don’t want to see you spend time behind bars or suffer a permanent mark against your record because of a misunderstanding or a single mistake. Fight back with powerful legal representation. Call our Dallas burglary defense lawyers today.
Defining Burglary in Texas
It is much easier to commit the crime of burglary than most people realize. That’s a big part of why these prosecutions are so regrettably common.
In Texas, burglary is defined as:
- Entering a building (or habitation) that is not open to the public, without consent, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault, or
- Concealing yourself inside a building (or habitation) with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault.
Note that the statute does not require that you actually commit a crime inside the building to be convicted. You can be convicted without stealing anything, even if you don’t do anything wrong once you’re inside.
It is the act of entering without consent (and with the intent to do something wrong) that constitutes the crime. You can even be convicted if you change your mind about the crime once you’re inside!
Likewise, staying inside a building without consent (and with the intent to do something wrong) is considered burglary, too. For example, someone who enters a retail store during business hours and then hides in a closet until after everyone goes home in the hopes that they can steal from the store overnight is guilty of burglary, even if he or she never “breaks in” and never actually takes anything.
It’s also important to realize that any part of your body is sufficient to meet the entering or concealing elements. Even if the tip of your pinky finger is inside, that may be enough to support a burglary charge. In fact, even if your body is outside the building but you’re connected to (or holding) an object that is inside a flashlight or a crowbar that you held through the door opening, for example, that is considered burglary.
Similarly, even small parts of buildings can be burglarized. If you break into a supply closet that faces the outside and doesn’t connect to the rest of the interior, for example, you may be charged with burglarizing that building.
More Serious Forms of Burglary in Texas
Ordinary burglary (that is, burglary of a building that isn’t someone’s home) is generally charged as a state jail felony in Texas. That means it’s less severe than other felonies, but still more severe than a misdemeanor. (Burglary of a vehicle, meanwhile, is usually a Class A misdemeanor.)
Burglary of a habitation, however, is treated much more seriously. That means you have allegedly burglarized someone’s home or place of dwelling, an act that Texas considers a home invasion. Burglary of a habitation is a second-degree felony in Texas.
Additionally, burglary of a habitation becomes a first-degree felony for anyone who enters the home with the intent to commit any felony other than felony theft.
It is not uncommon for various other criminal charges to accompany burglary allegations, especially if the allegedly intended felony is carried out inside.
Contact Our Dallas Burglary Defense Lawyers
You deserve the best criminal defense available. Burglary cases are complicated, and they can quickly spiral out of control. We can help.
Please call Oberheiden, P.C. at 1-888-727-5154 or contact us online and ask for a free consultation today.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a national litigation and trial criminal defense attorney who practices exclusively in the area of federal law.