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Theft, burglary, and criminal trespassing are all similar in nature, but have very specific distinctions. Generally, burglary is distinguished from other theft crimes because of the element of entering into a building with the intent to criminally steal another person’s property. Between the three, you could face several different types of burglary charges in Texas.

Theft

Theft occurs when someone unlawfully takes another person’s property without that person’s consent. Theft also occurs when someone accepts or receives property he or she knows to be stolen.

The Most Common Theft Crimes

  • Employee Theft.  This occurs when an employee is charged with stealing from their employer.
  • Shoplifting.  Shoplifting is the common term for “theft” or sometimes “petty theft”.  This crime typically occurs when you steal or attempt to steal, and is one of the most common forms of theft. The punishment varies depending on the value of the item that was allegedly stolen.

Burglary

A person is guilty of burglary under Texas law if he or she:

  • Enters a habitation or building without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault; or
  • Remains in a habitation or building without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault; or
  • Enters a habitation or building without the consent of the owner and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.

It’s important to note your entire body doesn’t have to be inside of the building at issue – you can be charged with burglary if any part of your body or an object you are holding or is attached to your body entered the building.

Criminal Trespass

The Texas Penal Code states that a person is guilty of criminal trespass if he or she enters or remains on another person’s property without the consent of the owner, and had notice but did not leave after being given notice that entry was forbidden. While sometimes the notice is clear from the circumstances surrounding the event, it can come in a few forms under the criminal trespass law, including a verbal statement from the property owner, a “no trespassing sign,” fencing, or the like.

Entry under the criminal trespass law means your entire body is located on the property. Simply putting your arm outstretched over the property line won’t do; your entire body must be physically located on the property.

Criminal trespass may occur in many places, including residential homes or privately owned land, buildings, or other structures, recreational vehicle parks, as well as vehicles, boats, and aircraft.

In Texas, a conviction for criminal trespass may result in a sentence of time in jail as well as a heavy fine.

Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers

The consequences of a conviction for a misdemeanor can be serious. In addition to fines, penalties and the possibility of jail time, a misdemeanor conviction can show up during a background check, hampering employment opportunities. If you have been charged with burglary or a related offense like burglary of a vehicle or criminal trespass, contact Rubin Law Firm, PLLC.

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