In Texas, burglary laws are separated into those committed in a home and those committed in a vehicle. Technically, if you burglarize an automobile, you are committing what's considered a lesser offense than if you burglarized a home. As such, the charges and potential penalties you could face are different between the two. However, in some cases, the level of charges is the same. Let's explore that in more detail.
Entering a Home or Car Without Consent
Both burglaries of a home and of a car statues are concerned with entering a place without the consent of the owner and with the intent to commit a felony or theft. According to the laws, both offenses define "entering" as putting a part of the body or an object connected to the body in a home or vehicle.
One of the differences between the two is where the offense was committed. Another is that burglary of a home can also involve entering a habitation with the intent to commit an assault. Additionally, a person could commit a burglary of a home if they conceal themselves with the intent to commit another crime.
How Are the Burglary Offenses Charged?
Burglary of a vehicle is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor. However, although it’s considered a "lesser" offense, that does not mean being accused of it isn't serious. In Texas, a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor could result in confinement in jail for up to 1 year and/or a maximum fine of $4,000.
In some cases, burglary of a vehicle is a felony. For instance, a person can be charged with a state jail felony if they were previously convicted of this offense 2 or more times. Being found guilty could result in up to 2 years incarceration in a state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalties for this offense also increase when the vehicle burglarized was carrying prescription drugs and the reason it was broken into was to steal them. In that instance, the offense becomes a third-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Whereas burglary of a vehicle is, at minimum, charged as a misdemeanor, burglary of a home is charged as a second-degree felony. A conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, a fine of up to $10,000 may be assessed.
As with burglary of a vehicle, burglary of a home charges can increase depending on the circumstances. For instance, when a person enters a habitation with the intent to commit some other offense besides felony theft, they can be charged with a first-degree felony. A person found guilty could face up to 99 years in prison.
If you’re facing criminal allegations in San Antonio, call LaHood Norton Law Group or contact us online today. Backed by over 70 years of combined experience, we know how to build and present effective and compelling defenses.