Burglary Defense in Austin | Austin Burglary Lawyer

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Posted on: March 17, 2018

Austin Burglary Attorney

CONTACT US TODAY AT 512-457-5200

Burglary in Texas is governed under Title 7, Chapter 30 of the Texas Penal Code.   There are several major sub types of burglary in Texas, namely: burglary of a habitation, burglary of a building, burglary of a coin-operated or coin collection machine, and burglary of a vehicle.  

To commit the offense of burglary of a habitation, a person must enter a habitation without the effective consent of the owner with the intent to commit a felony, theft or an assault; or remain concealed, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or enter a habitation and commit or attempt to commit a felony, theft, or an assault. 

Habitation as defined by the statute 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.  Appellate courts have held that appurtenant to can include unattached garages.

Enter as defined by the statute means to intrude: (1) any part of the body; or (2) any physical object connected with the body.

Burglary of a habitation is generally a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in Texas Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine.  It can be filed as a first degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 or life in the Texas Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine if any party to the burglary entered the habitation with the intent to commit a felony other than felony theft or committed or attempted to commit a felony other than felony theft.   

Burglary of a building is defined by statute as entering a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or remaining concealed in a building, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or entering a building and committing or attempting to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.

Burglary of a building is a state jail felony punishable by not more than two years or less than 180 days and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

A person commits the offense of burglary of a coin-operated or coin collection machine if, without the effective consent of the owner, he or she breaks or enters into any coin-operated machine, or other coin-operated or coin collection receptacle, contrivance, apparatus, or equipment used for the purpose of providing lawful amusement, sales of goods, services, or other valuable things, or telecommunications with the intent to obtain property or services.   Basically, the law prohibits messing with video games, pay phones, vending machines, coin operated laundry machines and the like to get coins and/or free use.

Entry as defined by this statute is any kind of entry except one made with the effective consent of the owner. 

Burglary of a coin-operated or coin collection machine is punishable as a class A misdemeanor, which means a person would face up to one year in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000.

A person commits the offense of burglary of a vehicle if, without the effective consent of the owner, he breaks into or enters a vehicle or any part of a vehicle with intent to commit any felony or theft.

Enter as defined by statute in this case means to intrude: (1) any part of the body; or (2) any physical object connected with the body.

Also of note, is that a container or trailer carried on a rail car is part of the rail car for purposes of this statute.

Burglary of a vehicle is punishable as a class A misdemeanor meaning a person faces up to one year in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000.  Importantly, if a person has a prior conviction for burglary of a vehicle, and it his alleged in the complaint, and shown at trial or plead true to, he or she faces a minimum term of confinement of six months and up to one year in the county jail and fine not to exceed $4,000.   It is a state jail felony if a person has two or more prior convictions for burglary of a vehicle; or the vehicle or part of the vehicle broken into or entered was a rail car. A state jail felony is punishable by six months to two years in the state jail and fine not to exceed $10,000.

For purposes of this statute, a defendant has been previously convicted if the defendant was adjudged guilty or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from probation. 

It is a defense to this crime if you were an employee of the railroad at the time of the offense. 

Since Criminal Trespass is governed under the same title and chapter of the Texas Penal Code, I will discuss it here as well.  A person commits the offense of criminal trespass if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person: (1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or (2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.

Entry as defined by this statute means the intrusion of the entire body.

Notice as defined by this statute means: (A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner; (B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock; (C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden; (D) the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are identifiable as specified by the statute; (E) the visible presence on the property of a crop grown for human consumption that is under cultivation, in the process of being harvested, or marketable if harvested at the time of entry. 

Criminal trespass is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000 if it is committed in a habitation or a shelter center, on a superfund site, or in a critical infrastructure.  It is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000 otherwise except for the following circumstances where it is a class c misdemeanor.  It is a class C misdemeanor where it is committed on agricultural land and within 100 feet of the boundary of the land; or on residential land and within 100 feet of a protected freshwater area.   

We have offices in Austin, Texas and Round Rock, Texas.

Austin Office
The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler

902 E. 5th Street
Ste 108
Austin, TX 78702
Phone: (512) 457-5200
Fax: (512) 457-5225
E-mail: jason.trumpler@trumplerlaw.com

Round Rock Office
1000 Heritage Center Cir
Round Rock, TX 78664

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