Burglary

There are many different forms of Burglary charges in the State of Texas. Burglary charges are very serious cases regardless of the type. They are crimes of moral turpitude and generally have an element of theft involved. Many employers take these charges more seriously than having a DWI, drug charges, assault, and other serious charges on your record. This is because employee theft is a big problem for retailers. Having a theft/burglary charge on your record will keep you from being able to find a job, especially when the job market is bad and there is a lot of competition for the same jobs. Many fast food chains and retailers will not hire you with a theft charge on your record.

Additionally, having a theft/burglary charge can keep you from finding an apartment. Many potential clients call our office to help them after they are denied for an apartment. Oftentimes, they have to settle for less desirable living arrangements in areas that aren’t very safe. Having a theft/burglary charge can also affect your credit rating, keeping you from being able to finance a home or car. If you are not a citizen, a theft/burglary charge may also keep you from becoming a naturalized citizen and cause you to be deported. Burglary convictions can also be used to enhance charges that occur later on. I’ve had clients facing 2-10 years in the penitentiary for shoplifting an item valued at less than $20.00 due to these enhancements.​

A burglary conviction can also be used to impeach your credibility when it comes to testifying as well. If you were ever a victim of a crime or a injured and you were called as a witness, the opposing attorney could use this against you to imply you were not being truthful because of this conviction. ​

A simple mistake, lapse in judgement, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have lifelong consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone gets a second chance. If you are charged with burglary, make sure you hire an attorney who will fight to keep it from going on your record. There are many ways we can beat burglary charges even if they have video surveillance of you.

Our experienced staff has effectively represented countless people who have been accused of burglary offenses and can provide you with an aggressive attorney to represent you. Mr. Nguyen is always ready to present a vigorous defense against any felony or misdemeanor Burglary charge.

What different types of Burglary charges are there?

There are many forms of Burglary in the State of Texas. The most common forms of Burglary are:
(1) Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
(2) Burglary of a Building
(3) Burglary of a Habitation
(4) Burglary of a Coin Operated Machine

What is required for a Burglary of a Motor Vehicle case?

Per the Statute:
Sec. 30.04. BURGLARY OF VEHICLES.

(a) A person commits an offense 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.
(b) For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude:
(1) any part of the body; or
(2) any physical object connected with the body.
(c) For purposes of this section, a container or trailer carried on a rail car is a part of the rail car.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that:
(1) the offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of six months if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this section;
(2) the offense is a state jail felony if:
(A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of an offense under this section; or
(B) the vehicle or part of the vehicle broken into or entered is a rail car; and
(3) the offense is a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the vehicle broken into or entered is owned or operated by a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs; and
(B) the actor breaks into or enters that vehicle with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance.
(d-1) For the purposes of Subsection (d), a defendant has been previously convicted under this section if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor entered a rail car or any part of a rail car and was at that time an employee or a representative of employees exercising a right under the Railway Labor Act

“Vehicle” includes any device in, on, or by which any person or property is or may be propelled, moved, or drawn in the normal course of commerce or transportation, except such devices as are classified as “habitation.”

It is important to note that the “intent to commit any felony or theft” is a necessary element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be shown in a myriad of different ways, but the most common are being found in possession of stolen items or a statement or confession. Oftentimes, the State us unable to meet this burden and the case will be reduced or dismissed. Also, just being merely present while someone else is burglarizing a vehicle is not enough, you must do some affirmative act in furtherance of the crime.

The punishment for Burglary of a Motor Vehicle depends on wether there were any prior convictions or deferred adjudications for this offense. This allows the State to bring higher charges against individuals with a history of these cases.

​What is required for a Burglary of a Building charge?

Sec. 30.02. BURGLARY
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person:
(1) enters a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault; or
(2) remains concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault, in a building or habitation; or
(3) enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
(b) For purposes of this section, “enter” means to intrude:
(1) any part of the body; or
(2) any physical object connected with the body.
(c) Except as provided in Subsection (c-1) or (d), an offense under this section is a:
(1) state jail felony if committed in a building other than a habitation; or
(2) felony of the second degree if committed in a habitation.
(c-1) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if:
(1) the premises are a commercial building in which a controlled substance is generally stored, including a pharmacy, clinic, hospital, nursing facility, or warehouse; and
(2) the person entered or remained concealed in that building with intent to commit a theft of a controlled substance.
(d) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if:
(1) the premises are a habitation; and
(2) any party to the offense entered the habitation with intent to commit a felony other than felony theft or committed or attempted to commit a felony other than felony theft.

“Building” means any enclosed structure intended for use or occupation as a habitation or for some purpose of trade, manufacture, ornament, or use.

The elements of a Burglary of a Building charge require that entry is made. Additionally, the State must prove the intent of the entry was to commit a theft, assault, or other felony. If they are unable to prove those elements, the case should be reduced to a criminal trespass or be dismissed outright. This element is typically proven by being in possession of stolen items or statements incriminating yourself. It is important to understand your rights and not to make any statements that can be used against you. There are times when a innocent statement can be construed in a negative way and twisted in a way you did not mean.

The punishment ranges for Burglary of a Building vary tremendously. Typically, these charges are filed as a State Jail Felony, carrying a punishment range of 6 months to 2 years in State Jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The charge can be upgraded if the place where entry was made can be shown to be a “habitation” or if the State feels your intent was for an felony offense other than a felony theft. With these enhancements, the State can up the punishment range to a 2nd degree felony or 1st degree felony. A 2nd degree carries a punishment range of 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A 1st degree felony carries 5-99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

What is required for a Burglary of a Habitation charge?


The elements of this offense is similar to the elements of Burglary of a Building, listed in the above section, except the place where entry was made can be show to be a “habitation”. A “habitation” has a specific definition per the code.

Sec. 30.01. DEFINITIONS.
In this chapter:
(1) “Habitation” 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.

The definition does not require anyone to be living in the structure, just that it’s been adapted to accommodate persons overnight. This includes a business where there are beds or bathrooms/showers. Additionally, this would cover an RV or recreational vehicle.

The punishment range for Burglary of a Habitation is a 2nd degree felony and carries a punishment range of 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If the purpose of the entry was for a felony other than a felony theft, the charge will be filed as a 1st degree felony, carrying punishment range of 5-99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Needless to say, the repercussions of this offense is very serious and it is important to find an attorney that will fight for you and that you trust to look out for your best interests.

What is required for a Burglary of a Coin Operated Machine charge?

Sec. 30.03. BURGLARY OF COIN-OPERATED OR COIN COLLECTION MACHINES.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, he breaks or enters into any coin-operated machine, coin collection 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 intent to obtain property or services.
(b) For purposes of this section, “entry” includes every kind of entry except one made with the effective consent of the owner.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

This offense is typically filed when a vending machine or arcade machine is broken into. The are often filed without any video surveillance and it is difficult for the State to show the machine was not damaged or broken into by someone else. There typically needs to be eye-witness testimony.

The punishment range for this offense is a Class A Misdemeanor which carries up to a year in county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

​Contact Henry K. Nguyen

Burglaries are on the rise in Houston, especially in some of the more prominent neighborhoods. In an effort to curb these burglaries, police are increasing their patrols in the areas that are affected. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can make you a burglary suspect, and a conviction for this crime can result in serious penalties. That’s why it is very important you hire a Burglary Attorney to handle your case.

Attorney Henry Nguyen is a criminal defense attorney who holds himself to a very high standard when representing his clients. Mr. Nguyen knows that your future depends on his involvement, and he strives to give each person the best possible representation. If you are facing burglary charges, contact his law office today at 713-222-1800 to set up an appointment.

The Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, P.C.

Criminal Defense Attorney

   1221 Studewood St Ste 105
Houston, TX 77008

   (713) 222-1800

   NguyenHenryK@yahoo.com

© 2019 by The Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen | Criminal Defense Attorney.