The legal definition of burglary includes more than just acts of theft. Instead, burglary is defined as someone entering or remaining in a structure without the owner’s permission with a plan to carry out a felony. All burglaries are felonies, which means a convicted person may face a lengthy jail sentence, as well as a permanent criminal record.
If the police have arrested you or approached you to discuss an illegal act related to entering a structure, you may wish to consult with a seasoned defense attorney. An Odessa burglary lawyer could help you prepare a comprehensive defense and negotiate for an optimal outcome based on the facts of your case.
Burglary of Buildings
The specific consequences associated with a burglary offense vary based on what type of structure a person allegedly entered. Separate regulations address breaking and entering of buildings, coin machines, and vehicles, all of which an Odessa burglary attorney could explain in further detail.
When defining burglary of buildings, Texas Penal Code §30.02 covers the following acts:
- Entering a structure not open to the public with a plan to commit a felony, a theft, or an assault
- Remaining hidden in a building with an intent to commit some theft, attack, or high crime
- Going into a building and attempting or committing assault, larceny, or a felony
If a person enters a building that is set up for overnight occupation by humans, that is considered a second-degree felony. The court may find a person guilty of a first-degree felony if the actor allegedly planned to commit some crime other than theft.
If the court convicts a person of entering some other structure with the intent to commit theft, assault, or a felony, the court may punish that person for a state jail felony. The law’s definition of entering is the person’s whole body, part of their body, or using a tool inside the building.
Other Forms of Burglary in Odessa
If a person enters containing drugs or remains hidden in a structure with the intent to take those controlled substances, they have committed a third-degree felony. The types of buildings that often store controlled medication include:
- Nursing homes
It is a separate offense to break into a coin-operated or coin collection machine. Breaking into any coin collection device is a Class A misdemeanor.
Finally, if a person enters or causes any part of their body or a tool to access a car, that may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The government must prove that the alleged actor planned to steal or commit a felony in order to obtain a conviction. If a court had previously convicted the person of the same act, the second conviction may be punished with up to six months of jail time.
Upon a third conviction, the court may find the actor guilty of a state jail felony. The same punishment applies if a person breaks into a rail car. If the court believes the actor was planning to steal controlled substances, they may convict that person of a third-degree felony.
Penalties for Burglary
All convictions for felony burglary may result in up to $10,000 in fines. If the court convicts a person of a second-degree offense, that may include two to 20 years in prison, and a third-degree felony can lead to ten years in jail.
A state jail felony could be punished by two years of imprisonment. Lastly, a Class A misdemeanor conviction may include a one-year sentence and a maximum of $4,000 in fines. A seasoned burglary lawyer in Odessa could help customize a defense strategy to the particular charges and consequences an individual defendant faces.
Speak with an Odessa Burglary Attorney About Legal Options
You may not know which course of action is best if the government has charged you with breaking into a structure, but speaking with an Odessa burglary lawyer is often a good place to start. A skilled attorney could help you understand the law, the procedures used by the police, and what defenses may be applicable to your case. Take action today by calling to schedule a consultation.