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Burglary in Texas
Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
James Luster is an experienced Ft Worth criminal defense lawyer and former Tarrant County prosecutor. He takes pride in his refusal to back down from challenging cases and he is committed to fighting for people accused of burglary in Texas.
James does not rely on the police do the investigating. He digs into every case and finds the facts for himself. Investigation is one of the greatest tools of a criminal defense attorney. If you have a serious criminal case you can't take the chance that something is overlooked.
Topics on this page:
- Definition of Burglary and other terms
- Punishment for Burglary
- Penalty for Burglary
- Statute of Limitations
Texas law defines burglary in Texas Penal Code 30.02. Someone can commit the crime of burglary in several different ways:
- A person goes inside of someone else’s habitation or a building (or any portion of a building) and
- the person does not have the effective consent of the owner;
- the habitation or building is not open to the public;
- the person entered the habitation or building with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault.
- A person stays concealed (hidden) inside a building or habitation, and
- the person does not have the effective consent of the owner;
- the person has the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault inside of the habitation or building.
- A person enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts to commit a felon, theft, or assault.
What is residential burglary?
You may see other sources referring to burglarizing someone’s home as “residential burglary.” In Texas this is called burglary of a habitation.
James Luster can defend you against charges of residential burglary or burglary of a habitation. If you are accused of breaking into and robbing a house, James will stand by your side. Whether you are accused of taking jewelry, money, electronics or any other property, you can turn to James to fight for you.
What does “enter” mean in this context?
In the context of these charges some words have very specific legal meanings:
“Enter" means to intrude:
- any part of the body; or
- any physical object connected with the body.
What is a habitation?
Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 30, a Habitation is any structure or vehicle that is adapted (made suitable for a new use or purpose or modified) for the overnight accommodation of persons, and includes:
- each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and
- each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle.
What is a building?
”Building” (under Texas burglary law) means any enclosed structure meant for use or occupation as a habitation or for some purpose of trade, manufacture, ornament, or use.[Back to Top]
What level of felony is burglary?
In most cases a burglary charge is a state jail felony if committed in a building other than a habitation, or 2nd degree felony if committed in a habitation. However, burglary is a 1st degree felony if the premises are a habitation, and any party to the offense entered the habitation with intent to commit a felony other than felony theft or committed or attempted to commit a felony other than felony theft. Learn about Texas felony charges.[Back to Top]
Penalty for Burglary
Many factors can impact the possible penalty for a burglary charge. The severity of the punishment depends-in part-on whether you are accused of burglary of a habitation, burglary of a building, or burglary of a vehicle. Another important factor is the criminal history of the accused. So, this following is a general guide. If you are charged with burglary in Tarrant County then you need to meet with a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney to discuss the possible punishment for your burglary charge.
- Burglary of a Building is a State Jail Felony. Generally, a State Jail Felony is punished by imprisonment in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days. In addition to imprisonment in state jail, a person found guilty of a state jail felony may have to pay a fine up to $10,000.
- Burglary of a Habitation (with intent to commit theft) is a Second Degree Felony. If someone is found guilty of a Second Degree Felony they can be put in prison (Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Institutional Division) for a minimum of 2 years or as much as 20 years. Just like the State Jail felony burglary charge, the punishment can also include a fine up to $10,000.
- Burglary of a Habitation (with intent to commit sexual assault) is a First Degree Felony. For a First Degree Felony, a person can be sentenced to prison from 5 years up to 99 years or Life. Also, a fine can be assessed up to $10,000.
Depending on the circumstances and criminal history, a person can also get probation for a burglary charge. This is another possibility that you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney about. If you are charged with burglary (of any kind) the case is serious, and you need to find the best defense lawyer for your case. The penalties and punishment mentioned above is only if you are found guilty of burglary. Your lawyer needs to evaluate whether you have a good case to fight or if you need to try to work out the best plea bargain. Every case is unique and will require specialized attention.[Back to Top]
Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations for most Texas crimes can be found in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. For most burglary cases, the statute of limitation is 5 years. However, there are some more serious circumstances in which increases the statute of limitation.
If the case involved allegation of sexual abuse of a child or attempted sexual abuse of a child, then the statute of limitation is 20 years from the 18th birthday of the alleged victim. So, if a person is accused of entering a building or habitation with the intent to commit any of the following crimes, then the statute of limitation is 20 years:
- Sexual assault of a child (Penal Code 22.011(a)(2));
- Aggravated sexual assault of a Child (Penal Code 22.021(a)(1)(B));
- Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children (Penal Code 21.02).
- Aggravated kidnapping with intent to sexually abuse a child (Penal Code 20.04(a)(4)).