Types of Burglary Covered Under Texas Law

April 9, 2024 | By Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys
Types of Burglary Covered Under Texas Law
Types of Burglary Covered Under Texas Law

Burglary is a serious crime in Texas, and there are different types of burglary covered under Texas state law. Because authorities and criminal courts take this offense seriously, anyone charged with burglary should also take it seriously.

If you have been arrested, your first step should be to hire a Texas Burglary attorney who handles burglary cases.

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What is Burglary?

First, let's define burglary. In Texas, the law defines burglary as entering a building or structure without permission and with the intent to commit a crime inside. This crime can be theft, assault, or any other felony. Burglary laws typically differentiate between various degrees based on factors such as whether or not the building was in use at the time of entry and whether force or coercion was employed to gain entry. In Texas, burglary is considered a serious offense. It is punishable by significant fines and imprisonment, with penalties varying based on the circumstances of the crime and any previous criminal history of the offender.

Now, let's dive into the different types of burglary covered under Texas law.

Burglary of a Building (Texas Penal Code Section 30.02)

Burglary of a Building

The burglary of a building is the most prevalent type of burglary in Texas, as outlined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.02. This offense occurs when an individual enters a building without the owner's consent and intends to commit theft or any felony once inside. For example, someone might force themselves into a closed store at night to steal products or break into a home to take valuable possessions.

To be charged with burglary of a building, the prosecutor must prove that the accused entered the building without permission and intended to commit a crime upon entry. The building in question can be any structure, such as a house, apartment, office, or store, as long as it is not open to the public during the offense.

The consequences for burglary of a building depend on various factors, including the accused's criminal history and whether they carried a weapon during the crime. Generally, the state categorizes burglary of a building as a state jail felony, carrying a penalty of 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the building is a habitation, the charge can be elevated to a second-degree felony, resulting in a more severe punishment.

Burglary of a Habitation (Texas Penal Code Section 30.02)

Burglary of a habitation, as defined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, is a more serious crime compared to burglary of a building. This offense occurs when a person enters another individual's residence without consent and intends to commit theft, assault, or any other felony inside. Examples include breaking into a house to steal high-value items or entering an apartment to physically harm someone.

A habitation is any structure or vehicle adapted for overnight accommodation, such as a home, apartment, RV, or trailer. For the crime to be considered burglary or habitation, it does not require the building to have occupants at the time of the offense.

To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused entered the habitation without permission and intended to commit a crime once inside. Authorities usually charge burglary of a habitation as a second-degree felony, imposing a punishment ranging from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the accused entered with the intent to commit a felony other than theft, the charge can be elevated to a first-degree felony, resulting in a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison.

Burglary of a Vehicle (Texas Penal Code Section 30.04)

Burglary of a motor Vehicle

Burglary of a vehicle, as outlined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.04, occurs when an individual breaks into a car, truck, or other vehicle intending to commit theft or any felony. This can involve stealing items from the vehicle, such as electronics or personal belongings, or using the vehicle to commit another crime, like a robbery or drive-by shooting.

To be charged with vehicle burglary, the prosecutor must show that the accused entered the vehicle without the owner's consent and intended to commit a crime. Breaking into the vehicle is not always necessary for the offense to be considered burglary; the accused may enter through an unlocked door or open window.

Burglary of a vehicle is typically categorized as a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, if the accused has prior convictions for burglary of a vehicle, the charge can be escalated to a state jail felony, leading to a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Burglary of a Coin-Operated Machine (Texas Penal Code Section 30.03)

Burglary of a coin-operated machine, as defined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.03, occurs when an individual breaks into a vending machine, laundromat machine, or any other coin-operated device intending to steal money or goods. This offense can involve using tools or explosives to force open the machine or manipulating the device to dispense items without payment.

To be charged with burglary of a coin-operated machine, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused entered the machine without the owner's consent and intended to commit theft. The machine must be coin-operated, which accepts payment through coins or paper money.

Burglary of a coin-operated machine is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, if the accused has prior convictions for the same offense, the charge can be escalated to a state jail felony, resulting in a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Home Invasion (Texas Penal Code Section 30.02)

Home invasion, a type of burglary covered under Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, occurs when an individual enters a home. At the same time, people are present and commit a crime such as robbery, assault, or sexual assault. This offense is particularly dangerous because it involves a confrontation between the perpetrator and the home's occupants.

To be charged with home invasion, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused entered the home without the occupants' consent, knew or reasonably should have known that people were present, and committed or attempted to commit a crime inside. The crime committed during the home invasion can be theft, assault, sexual assault, or any other felony.

Home invasion is typically a first-degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the accused used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime, they can face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Aggravated Burglary (Texas Penal Code Section 30.02)

Aggravated Burglary

Aggravated burglary, as defined in Texas Penal Code Section 30.02, is a more serious form of burglary that takes place when an individual enters a building or habitation with the intent to commit a crime and either causes injury to someone inside or uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense. This crime combines the elements of burglary with the added factors of bodily harm or the use of a dangerous weapon.

To secure a conviction for aggravated burglary, the prosecutor must prove that the accused entered the building or habitation without consent, intended to commit a crime inside, and either caused bodily injury to an occupant or used or exhibited a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon under the law can be a firearm, knife, or any object capable of causing serious bodily injury or death.

Aggravated burglary is typically a first-degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the accused used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the crime, they can face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Additionally, if the victim suffered serious bodily injury or death, the accused can face enhanced penalties, including a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Texas Burglary FAQs

Q: What should I do if I'm accused of burglary in Texas?

A: If you face an accusation of burglary in Texas, the first and most crucial step is to actively exercise your right to remain silent and refrain from discussing the case with anyone except your attorney.

Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is advised. Your attorney can support your understanding of the charges against you, protect your rights, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation. Remember that anything you say to law enforcement or others can be used against you in court; have legal representation before making any statements or decisions regarding your case.

Q: Can I be charged with burglary if I enter a property without intending to commit a crime?

A: In Texas, the prosecution must prove that you entered a building or habitation without the owner's consent and with the intent to commit theft, assault, or any other felony. If you can demonstrate that you did not intend to commit a crime upon entering the property, you may have a valid defense against burglary charges.

However, the prosecution may use circumstantial evidence to argue that you had criminal intent, such as the time of day, your actions inside the property, or any items you may have carried with you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you to assess the strength of the evidence against you and develop a defense strategy that challenges the prosecution's case.

Q: What are the potential consequences of a burglary conviction in Texas?

A: The consequences of a burglary conviction in Texas depend on various factors, including the type of burglary, your criminal history, and the specific circumstances of your case.

Burglary charges can range from misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, with penalties including fines, probation, and lengthy prison sentences. For instance, authorities often charge burglary of a habitation as a second-degree felony, which carries a penalty of two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Suppose the burglary involves aggravating factors, such as the use of a deadly weapon or causing bodily injury to an occupant. In that case, the charges can be elevated to a first-degree felony, resulting in a sentence of five to 99 years or life imprisonment.

A conviction can also lead to a permanent criminal record, which can impact your ability to secure employment, housing, and other opportunities in the future.

Q: Is it possible to reduce or dismiss burglary charges in Texas?

A: In some cases, it may be possible to have burglary charges reduced or dismissed, depending on the strength of the evidence, the circumstances of the case, and the skill of your criminal defense attorney. For example, suppose the prosecution's evidence is weak or obtained through illegal means. In that case, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence, potentially leading to a dismissal of the charges.

In other cases, your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, reducing the charges or the potential sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess your case and advise you on the best action.

Contact a Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer


Brandon Fulgham, Burglary Attorney
Brandon Fulgham, Texas Burglary Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing burglary charges in Texas, act quickly and seek the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

The consequences of a burglary conviction can be severe, impacting your freedom, future, and reputation. Don't let a single mistake define the rest of your life.

Contact a dedicated criminal defense attorney today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options. With the right legal representation, you can protect your rights, build a strong defense, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty and deserve a fair trial and a vigorous defense. Don't wait – call now and take the first step towards protecting your future.


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