In the state of Texas, burglary is one offense that is automatically prosecuted as being a felony, which means that there is always the chance of whoever is responsible for committing it being sentenced to either jail time or prison time. Additionally, despite the fact that burglary is oftentimes more associated with theft, burglary can also be prosecuted as unauthorized entry into a building to commit another crime such as assault in the state of Texas.
Texas state law, more specifically Texas Penal Code 30.01 – 30.07, mandates that a burglary charge applies whenever an individual commits the following offenses without the consent of the owner:
-Enters a home, building, or a portion of a building that is not open to the general public with the intention of committing theft, assault, or any other felony-level offense.
-Remains concealed with the intention of committing theft, assault, or any other felony-level offense.
-Enters, a home, building, or a portion of a building that is not open to the general public and commits or makes any attempt to commit theft, assault, or any other felony-level offense.
Oftentimes, many people tend to confuse theft, robbery, and burglary; however, both burglary and criminal trespass are crimes that are more closely connected with one another in the state of Texas. To successfully convict an individual of committing burglary, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed an unauthorized entry into a home, building, or a portion of a building without the consent of the owner, as well as with the intention of commit theft, assault, or any other felony-level offense. Additionally, attempting to enter or actually entering a vehicle or breaking into any coin-operated machine with the intention of committing theft or any other felony-related offense is also considered to be burglary under Texas state law.
If an individual did not actually commit or make any attempt to commit a crime, if prosecutors are still able to prove that they intended to do so, this is still considered to be burglary. On the other hand, since criminal intent is considered to be a state of mind, this can be rather difficult to prove, meaning that prosecutors can end up relying on strategies such as circumstantial evidence and confessions.
However, if criminal intent happens to not be present, an individual can be charged with criminal trespass. Prosecutors seeking to charge an individual with this must be able to prove that they either entered or remained on another party’s property without that party’s consent, as well as had notice that entry was actually forbidden or that they received notice to leave, yet failed to follow that notice.
Some of the most common burglary sentencing and other penalties under Texas state law include the following:
-State jail felony, which mandates that a burglary that has been committed in a building other than a home is punishable by six months to two years in state jail, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
-Second degree felony, which mandates that a burglary that has been committed in a home is punishable by two to 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
-First degree felony, which mandates that that a burglary has been committed if an individual entered a home with the intention to commit a felony other than a felony theft, which is punishable by five years to live in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
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