Dallas Vehicle Burglary Defense Attorneys
There is a lot of confusion in the general public about the Texas state crime of vehicle burglary and the activity that it covers.
While taking something that doesn’t belong to you from someone else’s car or truck without permission is almost always illegal, the vehicle burglary statute doesn’t always apply. Conversely, it is possible to be convicted of vehicle burglary even if you never take anything at all.
You can see why the subject causes so much confusion, but this web page will help to clarify the distinctions for you. After all, if you’re under suspicion or investigation for alleged vehicle burglary in Texas, you need to understand the specific charges against you.
Texas takes vehicle burglary crimes very seriously. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is tough on alleged car theft, as well as some of the conduct we see surrounding these crimes. Defendants should expect the prosecution to proceed against them aggressively. That’s why it is so important to have an equally aggressive law firm on your side.
If you are currently under charge for a vehicle burglary in Texas, you need to take urgent action to protect yourself. Please contact the Dallas burglary defense attorneys at The Oberheiden, P.C. today.
We understand that these cases aren’t always what they seem to be. We’ve seen innocent misunderstandings, teenaged pranks, cases involving misidentified vehicles, and other unintentional mishaps spiral into full-blown criminal prosecutions.
No one deserves to pay the government’s high price for a single mistake. The consequences for a vehicle burglary conviction can be very steep. We want to help you overcome the charges so that you can avoid those penalties and keep your life on track.
We have successfully defended people just like you against a wide range of theft, trespass, and burglary charges in Texas. Often, we’ve been able to negotiate a full dismissal of the charges. That is our goal, and we’d like to fight for that goal in your case, too.
Defining Vehicle Burglary in Texas
Texas defines vehicle burglary as entering a vehicle, without the owner’s consent, with the intent to commit a felony or a theft.
Note that nothing in the definition requires you to actually take any property. Rather, the prosecution only has to prove three things:
- You entered the vehicle,
- You did not have the owner’s consent to enter the vehicle, and
- You intended to commit a felony or theft.
As experienced Dallas burglary defense attorneys, we are often able to effectively challenge all three of those allegations. The intent element is particularly vulnerable to attack. The prosecution can’t read your mind, after all. These cases usually involve a police officer attempting to piece together the events after they’ve occurred, and that leaves the door open for speculation and guesswork.
There might also be a question of consent. It isn’t uncommon for there to be a misunderstanding between the person entering the vehicle and its owner. In some cases, owners have even been known to lie about whether they granted consent.
You should know, though, that the statutory language is often construed in the prosecutor’s favor. You can (enter) a vehicle, for example, if any part of your body is inside even just a finger. In fact, even if you’re completely outside but you are alleged to have been in contact with some object (like a crowbar, wire hanger, flashlight, or magnet) inside the vehicle, that may be sufficient to constitute an entry.
You can even be convicted of burglarizing an unlocked vehicle.
Note: Taking something from the outside of a vehicle generally doesn’t constitute an “entry.” So while stealing hubcaps or tires might be illegal on other grounds, that act alone usually won’t support a vehicle burglary charge. Truck beds are a different story, though. Reaching into an open truck bed with criminal intent can be enough to satisfy the elements of the crime.
A Note on Teenagers and Car Hopping
“Car hopping” has become something of a trend among teens in Texas. In the typical case, a small group of teens will quickly go from one vehicle to the next in a crowded parking lot, looking for unopened doors that will allow them to quickly grab some cash or personal property from inside.
Because teenagers aren’t always keenly aware of the consequences of their actions (and are very vulnerable to peer pressure), they might be led to believe that this behavior is nothing more than a harmless prank or pastime. On the contrary, it can be treated as a serious crime. It also opens the door for police to rope nearby teenagers into a prosecution when they weren’t involved.
If you or your children have been accused of car hopping in Texas, our Dallas burglary defense attorneys can help.
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Oberheiden, P.C. is ready to fight for you. Every second matters, so don’t delay. Contact our office at 1-888-727-5154 to set up a free consultation as soon as possible. Let us help.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a national litigation and trial criminal defense attorney who practices exclusively in the area of federal law.