A burglary conviction in the Lone Star State carries with it some significant legal penalties. If prosecutors prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, you may forever have a felony conviction on your record. You may also face a lengthy prison sentence, a steep fine or both.
The Texas Penal Code outlines three common ways to commit the crime of burglary.
1. Entering a structure without permission
There is no such thing as accidental burglary. To be criminally responsible, you must enter a non-public dwelling or other structure with the intent to commit a felony. Intending to steal property or assault a person may also qualify as burglary.
For example, opening the window of a private house to climb inside without permission and beat up the homeowner may satisfy the elements of burglary.
2. Remaining inside a structure
Even if you legally enter a building, you may not remain there with the intention of committing a felony, assault or theft. That is, you may not conceal yourself in a structure for the purpose of engaging in future unlawful conduct.
For example, hiding beneath a clothing rack at a store to steal an expensive television after the store closes likely violates Texas law.
3.Attempting to commit a crime
You do not have to be successful to commit a burglary offense. If you enter a building and simply try to commit a felony, theft or assault, prosecutors may still charge you with a crime.
For example, running out of a house you have no permission to be in before having the opportunity to grab an object you intended to steal may expose you to burglary charges.