Frisco Burglary Lawyer

If you enter a structure or stay in a structure without consent from the owner and with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault, you can be charged with Burglary in Texas. You do not have to actually commit any of those crimes once inside the structure to be found guilty of burglary.

Burglary is a serious felony offense, and defending against the charge requires a skilled attorney. A Frisco burglary lawyer has extensive experience working with prosecutors in the local criminal courts and understands how they view these types of charges. Our theft attorneys can build a defense that protects your rights and future.

Understanding the Legal Definition of Burglary

The television image of a burglar as just someone who breaks into a home to steal something is inaccurate. Texas Penal Code § 30.02 describes the crime of burglary as entering a habitation or building, without permission, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault once inside.

A prosecutor must prove each element of a burglary charge. A skillful burglary lawyer in Frisco can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence of any element to convince them not to pursue a charge or persuade a jury not to convict an accused.

Habitation or Building

A habitation could be a residence, and the crime is more serious if it is. However, the legal definition of habitation is more than simply a house where someone lives; it is any place that could accommodate someone staying overnight. A trailer, truck cab, boat, RV or camping cabin could be considered a habitation. Whether the area is occupied doesn’t go into the habitation analysis.

Burglary charges could also arise from entering a building that is not a habitation. A store, business, storage space, or any structure in use could be a building for the purposes of the burglary statute. In an appropriate case, a defense lawyer might argue a building was not in use or fit for use, so a person did not commit burglary.

Without Permission

The individual must be on the premises without the consent of the owner. A person does not need to break a window or kick in a door to be guilty of burglary. Entering through an unlocked door is sufficient if they do not have permission to enter. Someone could be found guilty of burglary when they secretly stayed behind after a business closed or a resident left home.

Evidence an owner or the person in charge of the place allowed an individual to be on the premises could be a defense against burglary.

Intent to Commit a Crime

The law states the person must have entered the space intending to commit the crime of theft, assault, or a felony. Unless an accused admits to entering a space to commit a crime, it can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove what they intended.

However, a jury can infer intent from circumstantial evidence. For example, a jury could reasonably infer a person arrested in a closed store late at night with materials to start a fire intended to commit arson, a felony.

Challenging the prosecutor’s evidence of intent is often an effective defense to burglary charges.

What to Do After a Burglary Arrest

When the police arrest someone for burglary, the best strategy is for the person to stay quiet and not speak to law enforcement. The law provides a person the right to refuse to answer questions, and someone accused of a crime should take full advantage of that right. Be cooperative with the police, and provide them with accurate identification, but do not answer any other questions without a lawyer present.

Police sometimes make a suspect believe they seem guilty if they refuse to answer questions. Ignore the banter, ask for an attorney, and do not answer questions until legal counsel is present.

Burglary is a crime of intent. Police are skilled at asking questions in a way that might lead a person to reveal information a prosecutor could construe as evidence of intent. Rather than risk weakening a defense while assisting the prosecutor in making their case, someone accused of burglary should stand on their right to remain silent until they have guidance from a Frisco attorney.

Penalties if Convicted of a Burglary Charge

Burglary is usually a felony charge. It is a second-degree felony if the structure the person allegedly entered fits the definition of a habitation. A conviction could lead to a prison sentence of two to 20 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

When the structure is only a building, the charge is a state jail felony. This is the least severe category of felony charge but could lead to a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of $10,000. Burglarizing a vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor which can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4000.

Depending on the circumstances, a Frisco burglary lawyer can sometimes convince a prosecutor to reduce a charge to criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor charge. When there is evidence a person entered a structure without permission but little or no evidence of their intent to commit one of the specific crimes described in the burglary statute, criminal trespassing is the more appropriate charge.

Engage a Frisco Burglary Attorney to Defend a Charge

When you are arrested for burglary, do not panic. Burglary can be difficult to prove if you do not confess. A seasoned Frisco burglary lawyer could help you resolve the charges as favorably as possible. Call as soon as you get arrested and before speaking with the police.