Burglary Habitation Charges Defense

Under the Texas Penal Code, there are three ways the crime of burglary of a habitation can be proven in the state. All instances involve no effective consent of the owner, and:

  • Entering a habitation, or any portion of a building that is not then open to the public, with the intent to commit a felony, a theft or an assault: or
  • Remaining concealed with the intent to commit a felony, theft or an assault in a building or a habitation; or
  • Entering a building or habitation and committing or attempting to commit a felony, theft or an assault.

There are Three Ways to Commit a Burglary of a Building or Habitation in San Antonio and Bexar County

Simply entering a building does not rise to the level of burglary, and would likely result in a charge of criminal trespassing. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who entered the building intended to commit an assault, theft or felony of some sort.

Entering a vehicle or breaking in with the intent to commit a felony or theft is also considered burglary. For burglary, even if the felony, theft, or assault did not take place, a defendant may be found guilty, even if all they had was the intent to commit a crime.

To be prosecuted for the lesser charge of criminal trespassing, the only things that need to be proven are that the defendant entered or remained on the property of another without that person’s consent, and that the defendant knew that the entry was forbidden, or that they had received notice to leave but did not do so.

Burglary and Criminal Trespass are Two Similar but Separate Crimes

Burglary habitation is considered a second-degree felony in Texas, with punishment ranging between 2 and 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the defendant intended to commit a felony other than theft or actually did commit a felony other than theft, then the charge rises to a first-degree felony which can be punishable by 5 to 99 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

The Law Office of Derek W. Emmons serves clients in San Antonio and surrounding Texas communities.