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Understanding Burglary, Home Invasion and Criminal Trespass Charges In Texas

Many people may confuse burglary charges in Texas with an exclusively theft-related crime. In reality, burglary may involve the intent to steal something from a structure, or an actual theft from a structure. But, in reality, burglary does not require any thought of stealing or theft. Similarly, robbery charges are often confused with burglary in today’s media. Understanding the issues and the guidance that an experienced criminal defense attorney provides are critical in creating an appropriate defense to allegations of home invasion or burglary.

At The Sanchez Law Firm, our lead attorney, Sergio Sanchez, can help you make sense of your circumstances, and leverage his extensive courtroom experience to protect your rights in McAllen and throughout the Rio Grande Valley. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and guide you through every step of the legal process with an assertive and meticulous approach.

To understand the distinctions between offenses that are often misrepresented in popular culture, a review of a variety of charges is provided below.

What Is Criminal Trespass In Texas?

The offense of criminal trespass occurs when someone enters or remains on another’s property without legal permission to be there. It applies to private property, like homes or businesses, and public property with restricted access.

There are two main ways someone can commit criminal trespass:

  • Entering without permission. It means knowingly entering a property marked with “No Trespassing” or other indicators or after being told to leave by the owner or their representative.
  • Refusing to leave. Even if someone initially had permission to be on the property, remaining becomes illegal if the owner revokes that permission and asks them to depart.

Criminal trespass can be a misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. The latter is punishable by at least two years of incarceration and fines.

What Is Burglary In Texas?

Burglary goes beyond simply breaking and entering. It occurs when someone enters a structure without the owner’s consent, intending to commit a felony, theft or assault.

A key element here is intent. Unlike trespass, which focuses on unauthorized presence, burglary hinges on the purpose of entering. Intending to commit any felony or assault upon entering the structure qualifies as burglary, even if the intended crime never occurred.

Burglary is usually charged as a third-degree felony in Texas. If convicted, you could face a prison sentence of up to ten years and associated fines.

What Is Home Invasion In Texas?

Home invasion (burglary of a habitation) is a burglary, but it targets a living space instead of a business or other property.

A critical distinction between home invasion and general burglary is the habitation element. While this usually refers to a house or apartment, it could be any structure – even a vehicle – that provides some shelter or enclosure.

Home invasions receive harsher scrutiny than other burglaries because of their potential for victim danger. A burglary involving a habitation can lead to second-degree felony charges, carrying a possible sentence of five to 99 years in prison and a fine. Expect severe penalties if a weapon was used or injuries occurred.

What Is Robbery In Texas?

Unlike burglary, which involves structures, robbery can occur anywhere and is usually a second-degree felony.

Robbery involves two main elements: Property was taken from another person, and force or the threat of force played a role. Such force can be physical, such as shoving, hitting, or grabbing or it can be psychological. For example, threats of violence can create fear in victims.

While intent is a necessary element in robbery and burglary, the latter focuses on the intent to commit a crime (often theft) upon entering a structure. Robbery, however, hinges on theft from a person coupled with force or threat of force. Possible penalties include a 20-year prison term and a fine.

Aggravated robbery charges are even more severe, as they involve the use of a deadly weapon, vulnerable victims and serious bodily injury. Aggravated robbery is typically a first-degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years in prison and, of course, an expensive fine.

Call Now To Protect Your Future

If you are facing these or other theft-related charges, you need not embark on your journey through the justice system alone. Trust the McAllen, Texas, lawyers at The Sanchez Law Firm to relentlessly shield your rights and defend your future. Call 956-467-5766 now to speak with an experienced attorney or contact us online.