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Burglary of a Habitation

Burglary is one of the more common property offenses committed in the State of Texas; however, it is not an offense that is limited strictly to property. Many burglaries involve the commission of other offenses more serious than simply theft. Criminal defense attorney Waren Price has prosecuted and defended all types of burglaries over the past 20 years. If you have been accused of committing burglary, they can help.

Understanding The Texas Burglary Laws

Burglary of a Habitation is an offense found in Chapter 30 of the Texas Penal Code. The elements of the offense are set out in Section 30.02. The basic elements of Burglary of a Habitation are:

  • entering the house or apartment of another (this includes intruding with any part of your body or physical object connected to your body); and
  • with the intention of committing theft, assault or some felony.

A typical Burglary of a Habitation occurs when a person enters the home of another person with the intention of committing theft. A theft does not actually have to occur. The person merely has to enter the home with the intention of committing theft. While it is not necessary that a theft actually occur, the absence of intention to commit theft makes the offense committed the lesser misdemeanor offense of Criminal Trespass of a Habitation.

While the typical Burglary involves theft, other offenses may be committed after entering the home which would also constitute Burglary. A confrontation that spills over from outside into a person’s home may stop being a simple Assault case and transition to a more serious felony Burglary with Intent to Commit Assault. While the level of the offense remains unchanged, the severity of the punishment for this offense is typically enhanced.

It is also a crime to remain concealed in a person’s home with the intention of committing assault, theft, or other felony offense. A person otherwise invited into another’s home who remains concealed within the home unknown to the homeowner commits an offense, if the person has the intent to commit theft or other criminal act against the homeowner.

Defenses to Burglary of a Habitation

The defenses available in your case will depend on the circumstances of the offense alleged. Your criminal defense attorney will work you to identify the defenses available to your burglary charge. Some of the more common defenses in Burglary cases are:

  • The accused had consent to enter and remain in the home;
  • The accused was misidentified as a suspect;
  • The accused had no intention of committing theft;
  • The accused had no intention of committing any felony offense;
  • No criminal offense was committed within the home;

Penalties for Burglary of a Habitation

Burglary of a Habitation is generally a second degree felony. This means that someone convicted of Burglary of a Habitation faces sentence from a minimum of 2 years in prison up to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a possible fine up to $10,000.00. Those sentences may be enhanced depending on the person’s criminal history.

First Degree Felony Burglary of a Habitation

The level of the offense may be elevated from a second degree felony to a first degree felony if it is alleged that someone involved in the offense entered the habitation with the intention of committing some felony other than theft. First degree felonies in Texas carry a range of punishment from a minimum of 5 years in prison up to a maximum of 99 years or life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division.

A first degree felony offense for Burglary of a Habitation often involves an allegation of intent to commit sexual assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping or robbery. Each of these are offenses that carry the potential for serious penalties. Those penalties are elevated when the offense is combined with the offense of Burglary. These are serious allegations that require an experienced attorney to defend against them. Waren Price has more than 20 years of experience and he has handled all types of Burglary cases.

Hire a Serious Burglary Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is accused of Burglary of a Habitation, then you need to hire a serious attorney with the experience to defend against this type of allegation. Burglaries are offenses that the ordinary homeowner fears. They are offenses that can be treated harshly by our court system. You need representation today.