It can be a very frightening and stressful experience to find yourself accused of burglary, which may be prosecuted if there is reason to believe that you unlawfully entered or remained inside a structure – public or private – with the intent of committing a theft, assault or committing another felony crime.
In fact, Texas law also considers breaking into a vehicle or even a coin-operated machine as burglary. What’s more, a theft, assault or felony doesn’t actually need to occur; the prosecutor only needs to believe that you had the intent to commit one of these crimes.
Burglary can be prosecuted as a felony in Texas, so it’s understandable that you may be feeling scared, uncertain and dismayed. With such serious potential penalties, including prison time and fines of up to $10,000, it’s vital that you trust your defense to an experienced lawyer with the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass. We represent clients throughout Dallas County, Collin County, Denton County and beyond, aggressively defending Texans who are accused of some very serious crimes.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, our goal is to maximize your chances of seeing a positive outcome to your case. So if you are under investigation or have been arrested for burglary, contact our legal team to discuss your case in a fully confidential, no-cost consultation session. Call (972) 422-9999.
Common Questions and Concerns Surrounding a Burglary Defense Case in Collin County
Burglary is an offense that can apply to many different situations and there are some cases where a case is improperly charged as burglary when, in fact, it ought to have been prosecuted as a lesser offense such as criminal trespass.
We know you may have many questions and concerns, which can contribute to the stress and worry that you’re experiencing. So the team here at the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass has compiled an overview of a few of the most common inquiries that we address.
What is the Definition of Burglary in Texas?
Texas law defines burglary as the act of unlawfully entering (or remaining inside) a building or vehicle with the intent of committing a theft, an assault or any other felony crime. Burglary can also apply to the act of breaking into a coin-operated machine with the intent of committing a theft or a felony crime.
A theft, assault or felony does not need to occur while accessing the premises in question; the prosecutor only needs to prove that the intent existed. In cases where the prosecutor struggles to prove intent, the charge may be downgraded to criminal trespassing.
What is the Penalty for a Texas Burglary Conviction?
The severity of the crime and the possible penalty depends upon the type of structure involved in the alleged burglary incident.
If the building was a habitation – a home – the burglary is typically prosecuted as a second-degree felony which carries a potential sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the building was not a habitation – such as a shop or an office building – the burglary is typically prosecuted as a state jail felony which carries a potential sentence of 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the burglary involves a vehicle, the offense is considered a class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible penalty of at least six months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Habitual offenders with two or more convictions can see prosecution for a more serious state jail felony for this type of offense.
If the burglary involves a coin-operated machine, the offense is considered a class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible penalty of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
What is the Definition of Criminal Trespass in Texas?
Criminal trespassing is an offense that is similar to burglary, but it is considered less serious.
In a criminal trespass case, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered or remained inside a property without the proper consent. Additionally, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had been notified that entry was prohibited, or the party was notified that they must leave but then failed to do so.
The burden for proving criminal trespass is a bit lesser. The primary difference between criminal trespass and burglary is the intent or the act of committing a theft, assault or felony. So in cases where there is weak evidence that a party intended to commit one of these crimes while inside the structure, the charges may be reduced to criminal trespassing.
Criminal trespassing is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor. It may be a class C (least serious), class B or class A (most serious) misdemeanor, depending upon the nature of the property involved in the case.
Hire a Top Burglary Defense Lawyer to Oversee Your Case
If you’re accused of a crime like a burglary, you may face some serious penalties, especially if you’re facing additional charges and/or have a prior conviction on your record.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, we are committed to reviewing each case on its own facts, merits, and evidence. Based upon this, along with your goals and objectives for the future, we will devise a strategy that will maximize your chances of seeing a favorable case conclusion.
Serving clients throughout Dallas, Plano, Collin County, and Fort Worth, our law firm was established by an attorney who has been defending Texas clients since 1993. Firm founder Attorney Jeffrey Grass proudly served as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate (JAG), and he was named one of the Top 100 Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association. He also maintains an AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.
If you or a loved one have been accused of burglary or another serious crime, contact the defense lawyers with the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass as soon as possible. We will provide a free, fully confidential case evaluation. Call (972) 422-9999.
Mr. Grass is a very professional and respectful attorney. Mr. Grass has treated me and family with the utmost respect and treated my child like it was his own. Mr. Grass is a very competent, detailed, knowledgeable lawyer. The thing I liked the most about Mr. Grass is it does not matter what time of day or day of the week it is, Jeff answers his phone and if by chance he can not answer then Jeff does return phone calls. The call does not go to a receptionist or an assistant, it goes to him and he answers!