In this first of a three part series of videos, criminal defense attorney George Parnham discusses the charges of burglary to a habitation as provided under Texas state laws.
Texas State Law provides for several different types of burglary charges. Generally speaking, burglary is distinguished from other theft crimes because of the element of entering into a building with the intent to criminally steal another person’s property, or to commit a felony. You can be charged with burglary if any part of your body has entered the building; for example, simply holding a flashlight in the door or window of a building that is not open to the public with the intention of stealing something from that building.
Although similar, burglary and criminal trespass are two separate crimes in Texas. To get a conviction for burglary a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that without consent of the owner, the defendant entered a private habitation with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. Entering a vehicle or breaking into a coin-operated machine 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 he/she had was the intent to commit a crime.
Texas Penal Code states that you have committed the offense of burglary if you, without consent:
- Enter a habitation or building not open to the public with the intent to commit a felony
- Conceal yourself in that habitation/building and commit/attempt to commit a felony
Burglary of a building that is inhabited (such as a house or an apartment) without the permission of the owner and with the intent or actual commission of theft or felony, that is considered as burglary of habitation.
Burglary of a habitation is considered as a second-degree felony in the state of Texas, and may be sentenced with prison term from two to twenty years. If there is intent to commit another felony or an actual commission of it during the burglary, the offense will be elevated to a first-degree felony, which is punishable by a life sentence or up to 99 years in prison. In addition, there is a potential fine up to $10,000 dollars.