Burglary is a serious offense that can have significant consequences for individuals accused of the crime. Being charged with burglary can be a daunting experience, but it’s important to remember that everyone is entitled to a fair defense. In this article, we will explore various strategies and common defenses employed by experienced attorneys in Texas burglary cases. If you find yourself facing burglary charges, it is crucial to understand your rights and seek professional legal guidance.
Understanding Burglary Charges
Burglary refers to the unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. In Texas, burglary charges can be classified into different degrees, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Understanding the distinctions between these degrees can help you grasp the potential implications of the charges you are facing.
- First-Degree Burglary: First-degree burglary involves entering a habitation with the intent to commit a felony other than theft. A habitation refers to any structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of a person. This degree of burglary carries the most severe penalties, including up to life in prison, due to the increased potential for harm to individuals and their personal property.
- Second-Degree Burglary: Second-degree burglary encompasses entering a habitation with the intent to commit theft or a misdemeanor assault. The range of punishment for a second- degree offense is 2 to 10 years in prison.
- Third-Degree Burglary: Third-degree burglary pertains to premises that are commercial buildings in which a controlled substance is stored. This offense carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
- State Jail Felony Burglary: State jail felony burglary involves burglary of a building other than a habitation. While the potential harm to individuals may be lower in these cases, the offense still carries between 180 days and 2 years in a state jail facility.
It is important to note that the penalties for burglary offenses in Texas can vary depending on factors such as the specific degree of the offense, any aggravating circumstances, and the defendant’s criminal history.
If you have been wrongly accused of burglary, proving your innocence is crucial to ensure a fair outcome. Your defense attorney will investigate the evidence against you and gather any available alibis or witnesses that can corroborate your whereabouts during the alleged incident. Surveillance footage, phone records, or credit card statements can provide valuable evidence to support your case. It is essential to be transparent with your attorney and provide them with any information that can strengthen your defense.
Common Defenses in Burglary Cases
- Lack of Intent: One of the most effective defenses in burglary cases is proving the absence of intent. If your attorney can demonstrate that you had no intention to commit a felony, theft, or assault when entering the premises, it can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Lack of intent can be established by showcasing your legitimate purpose for being in the structure or highlighting any misunderstandings or mistakes that led to the alleged burglary.
- Mistaken Identity: Another common defense strategy is to challenge the accuracy of the identification made by the prosecution. Eyewitness testimony is not always reliable, and your attorney may be able to present evidence that suggests you were mistaken for the actual perpetrator. This defense could involve alibi witnesses, video footage, or forensic evidence that places doubt on the prosecution’s case and supports your claim of mistaken identity.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: Your defense attorney will thoroughly examine whether law enforcement followed proper procedures when obtaining evidence against you. If there were violations of your Fourth Amendment rights, such as an illegal search or seizure, the evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed. This defense is especially relevant if the police did not have a valid search warrant or if the warrant was improperly executed. Challenging the admissibility of evidence can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you.
- Lack of Evidence: Your attorney will meticulously scrutinize the evidence presented by the prosecution. If there is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney can argue for a dismissal of the charges. They will challenge the credibility of witnesses, question the authenticity of physical evidence, and analyze any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. By highlighting the gaps in the evidence, your defense team can cast doubt on your involvement in the alleged burglary.
In some instances, it may be in your best interest to consider a plea bargain. A plea bargain involves negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. This approach can be advantageous if the evidence against you is strong and the potential consequences of a trial are significant. Your defense attorney will assess the circumstances of your case, advise you on the potential outcomes, and guide you through the plea bargaining process, ensuring your rights are protected and that you understand the implications of any proposed plea agreement.
If you are convicted of burglary, the severity of the sentence will depend on various factors, including the degree of the offense, any aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and your prior criminal record. Texas has specific ranges of punishment for burglary offenses, and your defense attorney will work to secure the most favorable outcome for you. This can involve presenting mitigating factors, such as your lack of previous criminal history, genuine remorse, or evidence of rehabilitation efforts. Your attorney may also argue for alternative sentencing options, such as probation, community service, or diversion programs, depending on the specifics of your case.
The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC
When facing burglary charges in Brazoria County or the Pearland area, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney by your side. The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, is committed to providing exceptional criminal defense tailored to your unique situation.
Burglary charges in Texas carry serious implications, but individuals accused of this crime have the right to mount a strong defense. Call The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen today at (832) 230-0075 for a free consultation.