Burglary—also referred to “breaking and entering”—is the unauthorized entering of another person’s home or property with the intent to steal or commit some other felony within the premises. Theft, on the other hand, involves the taking of a person’s property without their consent, with the intent of permanently depriving them of said property.
Consequences of Burglary and Theft
Burglary and theft are serious crimes. The potential punishment for theft depend on the value of the property allegedly stolen, and can range from fines up to $500, to imprisonment in a correctional facility up to 20 years.
The potential punishment for burglary will depend on the nature of the alleged crime, such as whether or not it is proven that you made entry onto the property with the intent to commit theft or another felony. The potential consequences for burglary can range from 6 months to life in a correctional facility.
A pre-trial intervention, probation, deferred adjudication, dismissal, or a not guilty verdict acquitting you from these charges may be available depending upon the facts of your case.
To prove the elements of burglary, the prosecution must prove that you:
- Made entry onto the property
- With the intent to commit theft or another felony
To convict you of theft, the prosecution must prove that you:
- Took another person’s property
- Took another person’s property with the intent of permanently depriving them of such property
Defense Strategies for Burglary/Theft Offenses
Although every case is different, your defense strategy for challenging burglary charges will depend on:
- Legitimate innocence – We may convince the prosecutor or jury that you, in fact, did not commit the acts in question that have led to your charge. This can be done using an established alibi or calling the prosecution’s evidence into question.
- Your intent – In some cases, we may argue that your entry onto the property was not done with criminal intent. This can be done with evidence that you had the consent of the property’s owner to enter the property.
On the other hand, if you are charged with a theft crime, your defense strategy for challenging such charges will depend on:
- Ownership or claim to the property – We may argue that you had a reasonable belief that the property in question belonged to you or you have a valid claim to it.
- Your intent to return property – We may argue that you had the intent to return the property to the owner at the time it was taken, and that you did not have an intent to permanently deprive the alleged victim of the property.
Why Do You Need a Defense Lawyer?
If you are in Harris County or surrounding counties such as Fort Bend, Montgomery, or Galveston County and have been charged with a burglary or theft offense, you will need an experienced and successful criminal defense lawyer like Nathaniel Pitoniak to provide you with legal advice and representation in a Texas court of law. As a former prosecutor in his tenth year of practice, he has handled many burglary and theft cases and will be able to create a strategic defense for your case. Call Nathaniel Pitoniak at the Pitoniak Law Firm at (832) 315-6283 for a free consultation today.