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Burglary Lawyer in New Braunfels, Texas, Helping Clients Accused of a Crime to Protect Their Rights

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), an average of 1.6 burglaries occur every minute in the United States. In Texas, as many as 96,419 burglaries were reported in 2021, with the city of San Antonio leading the chart with 648 burglary cases per 100,000 residents. If you have been charged with burglary in Texas, it is important to know what penalties you may be facing and how an attorney may be able to help you beat your charges and secure a positive outcome for your case.

What Is Considered a Burglary in Texas?

In Texas, burglary is when someone enters a building, home, or any type of private property with the intent to commit a crime, such as theft, assault, or another type of felony. An individual commits burglary when entering or remaining concealed in a building, private property, or area not open to the public without the owner’s knowledge or consent. The individual then commits a crime or attempts to commit a crime once they are unlawfully present on the premises.

As an example, a recent case involving multiple law enforcement agencies in Central Texas in 2021 led to the arrest of a group of people who had been responsible for taking over $235,000 worth of items from at least 27 private homes and businesses in the Waco area. The offenders used a drone to surveil homes, identify security cameras, and check to see when homeowners were gone. In this case, the offenders unlawfully entered into private homes to commit theft, matching the definition of burglary as stated by Section §30.02 of the Texas Penal Code.

How Is a Burglary Different From Criminal Trespassing?

Burglary and criminal trespassing are among the most common types of property crime in Texas. But how does one differ from the other, and which one has harsher penalties? For starters, criminal trespassing is simply the offense of entering or remaining on someone else’s private property without authorization or failing to leave when required to do so. However, the person did not have the intent of entering the property to commit a crime.

In contrast, the state has to prove that an offender entered a building because they were planning to commit a crime, regardless of whether they actually committed the crime or not. The intent is what typically differentiates a burglary from a criminal trespassing charge. In addition, burglaries are usually charged as felonies, while criminal trespassing is usually a misdemeanor. In any case, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights if you are facing charges.

What Are the Penalties for a Burglary Conviction?

Burglaries are felonies, and the severity of the penalties depends on several factors. These include the kind of building that was burglarized (whether it was a private residence or another type of property) and the type of crime that was committed after the individual broke into the home or building.

An individual may be convicted of a state jail felony if they committed burglary in a building other than a habitation or private residence. However, if the structure was a private habitation, the offender may be facing a second-degree felony charge, which could lead to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.00. A burglary can also be a second-degree felony if, for example, the offender breaks into a building that holds controlled substances (such as a hospital) with the intent to steal those controlled substances.

A burglary could also be charged as a first-degree felony if the offender burglarized a habitation and committed a crime other than theft. For example, if a person burglarized a home and committed a violent felony against the homeowner using a gun or another weapon, that individual may be facing a first-degree felony charge, which could result in a prison sentence ranging from five years to life and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

How Can an Attorney Help You Beat Burglary Charges?

If you are facing burglary charges in Texas, it is in your best interest to seek the help of a skilled burglary lawyer. Your lawyer can help you understand your charges and possible penalties and work to devise a defense strategy to help you get your charges reduced or even get your case dismissed when possible.

For instance, an attorney can help you prove that you should not be charged with burglary because you have been falsely accused, have an alibi showing you were not at the scene of the crime, or that the police violated your constitutional rights and obtained evidence against you without a proper warrant. Each case is different, so your attorney would have to investigate the specific circumstances of your case to come up with an effective defense strategy. By working with a criminal defense lawyer, you can also get sound legal advice to help you decide whether to accept a plea deal or take your case to trial in order to try and fight your charges or secure more lenient penalties.

Seymour & Vaughn represents clients charged with burglary in New Braunfels, Texas, and surrounding areas. Being charged with a crime is not the end of the road, but you must act quickly and contact a burglary defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm is ready to work on your behalf to help you secure a more favorable outcome. Reach out to Seymour & Vaughn at  830-282-8751 and request a free consultation to discuss your case and see how we can help you.