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Defending Those Charged with Burglary Crimes

Burglary | Criminal Trespass | Breaking and Entering | Unlawful Entry

Dallas theft attorney Michael Lowe notes that burglary-related crimes, including felony burglary, unlawful entry, breaking and entering, and criminal trespass are defined in Chapter 30 of the Texas Penal Code. Burglary of a habitation can mean a person losing their freedom and spending many years behind bars – and the State of Texas has a wide definition of what “habitations” are:

“Habitation” means a structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons, and includes:

(A) each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and

(B) each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle.

  • Texas Penal Code §30.01.

Burglary is a Felony Offense in Texas

In Texas, anyone who essentially enters any space that is not open to the public – it doesn’t have to be someone’s house or workplace – for the purpose of stealing something; assaulting someone; or to commit any other act considered a felony crime in Texas – is committing the crime of “burglary” as it is defined in Texas law.

Burglary is a serious charge: it carries a felony level punishment. Burglary involves more than simply stealing things. Some people are surprised to learn how often police and prosecutors can add a burglary charge to a list of allegations against a defendant, Dallas theft lawyer Mike Lowe warns. (From a prosecutor’s perspective, the more charges the better.)

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The Texas Penal Code Section 30.02 defines “burglary” as “if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person:

(1) enters a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or

(2) remains concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault, in a building or habitation; or

(3) enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.

(b) For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude:

(1) any part of the body; or

(2) any physical object connected with the body.

Serious Felony Sentences for Burglary Convictions

In Texas, someone convicted of burglary can face serious time in a Texas state prison. The Texas Penal Code includes burglary in those charges that are a felony of the first degree if: (1) it happens at a habitation and (2) anyone involved in the burglary entered the habitation (home) with even the intent to commit a felony other than felony theft.

Otherwise, burglary will be classified as a “state jail felony” if it is committed in a building other than a habitation (home); or a “felony of the second degree” if it is committed in a habitation (home).

Specific Kinds of Burglary – Misdemeanor Charges

Experienced lawyer Michael Lowe knows the nuances of Texas law; when burglary involves vehicles or coin-operated machines, there can be lesser penalties.

Burglary of a coin-operated machine (vending machines, for example) is a Class A misdemeanor.

Burglary of a vehicle (car, SUV, truck, etc.) is also considered a Class A misdemeanor offense unless the defendant is shown to have at least two prior “burglary of a vehicle” convictions on his record; then the offense escalates to a state jail felony.

Car Hopping – Popular Form of Vehicular Burglary in Dallas and Texas

In Texas, many teenagers are getting arrested for “car hopping.” Considered crimes of opportunity by law enforcement, those caught car hopping will face serious vehicular burglary charges which can quickly add up to a state jail felony conviction if not aggressively defended by an experienced lawyer.

What is car hopping? It is a crime of theft that usually happens in a place where many vehicles are parked: a shopping mall, a movie theater, a football stadium. The defendants are arrested for “hopping” from car to car, looking for unlocked car doors or items left in the beds of pickup trucks, etc. It is possible for many vehicles to be “hopped” in a relatively short period of time, especially if two or more people are working together in the effort.

Car hoppers are looking for things to sell or pawn for quick cash, and car hopping usually involves the theft of items like: GPS systems, laptops, tablets, cell phones, smart phones, chargers, wallets, and tools. Unlocked vehicles are welcomed targets of car hoppers.

Car hopping can quickly turn from a fun prank to get some fast cash to a defendant facing felony time in a Texas state prison. The life of a young person can be seriously altered – and an aggressive criminal defense lawyer can be of great help to the teen and their family in this crisis.

As a former prosecutor turned Dallas theft lawyer with over 150 jury trials defending clients against charges brought by district attorneys and U.S. federal prosecutors in Dallas County, Tarrant County, and elsewhere in the State of Texas, Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe not only brings his years of experience to each case, he also dedicates 100% of his law practice to the defense of those being accused of a crime under Texas or federal law.

With a streamlined law firm that coordinates its efforts to give each client the personal attention that they need and deserve when fighting against the government and the possibility of jail time, fines, permanent marks on public records, prison incarceration, loss of licensure, loss of jobs, absence from family events and everyday living, Michael Lowe maintains an efficient and excellent criminal trial practice that is ready to help you or your loved ones in your defense against criminal charges from pre-arrest investigation to post-trial appeals.

To discuss your case in a free and completely confidential consultation, please contact Dallas Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe today.


Have a Question? Call Michael Lowe for a Free Initial Consultation.