San Antonio Burglary Defense Attorney
Providing Aggressive Legal Representation Since 1999
Burglary is a serious theft crime, and a conviction for burglary in Texas carries harsh penalties. If you or your loved one has been arrested for or charged with any form of burglary in Bexar County or the nearby areas, contact the San Antonio burglary defense attorney at the Law Office of Derek W. Emmons, P.C. With over 20 years of legal experience, including experience as a former prosecutor, Attorney Derek Emmons is prepared to aggressively defend your rights and work to protect your future.
Contact our firm online using our simple contact form, or call us at (210) 702-3054 today for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation with Attorney Derek Emmons.
Burglary Habitation Charges
Under the Texas Penal Code, there are three ways the crime of burglary of a habitation can be proven in the state.
All instances involve no effective consent of the owner and:
- Entering a habitation or any portion of a building that is not then open to the public with the intent to commit a felony, a theft, or an assault; or
- Remaining concealed with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault in a building or a habitation; or
- Entering a building or habitation and committing or attempting to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
Simply entering a building does not rise to the level of burglary, and would likely result in a charge of criminal trespassing. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who entered the building intended to commit an assault, theft, or felony of some sort.
Entering a vehicle or breaking in with the intent to commit a felony or theft is also considered burglary. For burglary, even if the felony, theft, or assault did not take place, a defendant may be found guilty even if all they had was the intent to commit a crime.
To be prosecuted for the lesser charge of criminal trespassing, the only things that need to be proven are that the defendant entered or remained on the property of another without that person’s consent and that the defendant knew that the entry was forbidden, or that they had received notice to leave but did not do so.
Burglary of a Building Charges in Texas
Texas law defines burglary as having the following elements present:
- Unauthorized breaking or entry
- Into a building or an occupied structure
- With the intent to commit a crime while inside
Burglary of a building is a serious charge and will normally be prosecuted as a second-degree felony. Upon conviction, a defendant can face 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In some instances, if a felony is committed after entry into the building, the charge could be elevated to a first-degree felony with a penalty that could include 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to a $10,000.
Burglary & Criminal Trespass Are Two Similar but Separate Crimes
Burglary habitation is considered a second-degree felony in Texas, with punishment ranging between 2 and 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the defendant intended to commit a felony other than theft or actually did commit a felony other than theft, then the charge rises to a first-degree felony, which can be punishable by 5 to 99 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending against Burglary Charges
Derek W. Emmons is an experienced San Antonio burglary defense attorney who can employ several possible strategies in an effort to preserve your freedom if you have been charged with burglary in Bexar County or the nearby communities.
The most basic of these defenses is that you are actually innocent of the crime. Because a prosecutor has to prove the crime took place beyond a reasonable doubt, by introducing evidence that undercuts the prosecution’s case, it may be possible to convince the court that the defendant did not commit the crime in question. This may take place by presenting an alibi or creating doubt regarding forensic evidence that may have been introduced.
Another possible defense strategy is to admit that the defendant engaged in behavior as charged by the prosecution, but that one or more of the elements necessary was not present. Defendants argue in many cases that they thought they had the owner’s permission to be on the property, thus creating no unauthorized entry. Other possible strategies can include that the defendant was placed under duress and was forced to participate in the burglary or face the threat of physical harm in some form.
Finally, a defendant can claim that they were entrapped into committing the burglary by being convinced to commit the crime when they would have not done so otherwise. This type of defense is difficult to prove but can be successful when the right circumstances are present.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Attorney Today
If you have been accused of burglary, it is critical that you speak to an attorney about your situation as soon as possible. These are serious charges, and the prosecution is likely already mounting its case against you. The sooner you speak to a qualified criminal defense lawyer, like Derek Emmons, the better.
At the Law Office of Derek W. Emmons, P.C., we offer free initial consultations and a hands-on, personalized approach to each and every case. Our team can help you navigate the criminal justice system and work to protect your future.
To learn more about how our firm can help you with your case, contact us at (210) 702-3054 for a free, confidential consultation.
Derek W. Emmons fights for the rights of those falsely accused of a crime in the San Antonio area. His skill, tenacity, and experience are committed to protecting your rights.
You can always expect aggressive representation, personal attention, and dedicated service. For over 20 years, Derek W. Emmons has gone above and beyond for his clients and will do everything possible to help you avoid a criminal conviction.
- Former Prosecutor
- 5 Star Client Rating
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