Burglary is a centuries-old crime that used to require proving a defendant broke and entered into the dwelling place of another at night with the intent to commit a felony inside. Texas and other jurisdictions have modified the traditional definition of burglary to meet modern conditions. Still, authorities in Texas and elsewhere must prove several critical elements when showing that a defendant committed burglary.
Texas law relaxed the traditional breaking requirement, but still needs authorities to show that a defendant entered into a dwelling or building in order to prove burglary. The entering can be proved by demonstrating that any part of the defendant’s body entered into the building. In addition, an object connected to a defendant can also form the basis of the entering requirement. An experienced criminal law attorney should know if this element has been satisfied in a given situation.
Intent to commit certain crimes
In order to be held liable for burglary in Texas, defendants must have the intent to commit a felony, a crime punishable by more than one year in jail, when they entered the building. However, the intent to commit any theft or assault inside the building can also be used to establish the crime of burglary. This gives prosecutors more flexibility when prosecuting burglary crimes in Texas than the traditional standard.
Although burglary can be committed with any building in Texas, there are certain requirements that must be established to hold defendants liable. The building involved in the burglary must not be open to the public at the time the entering occurred. In addition, a burglary can be committed within any portion of a building, so the defendant does not need to trespass through the entire building to be held liable.
Under Texas law, burglaries will be deemed more serious if they involve several aggravating factors, including the entering of a home, hospital, nursing facility, or other designated locations. Burglary can be a serious crime, and everyone charged with this offense should contact an experienced criminal law attorney in order to protect their rights.