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The Difference Between Burglary and Criminal Trespass

 Posted on June 27, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Untitled-4.jpgBurglary and criminal trespass are two closely related - but distinct - crimes. Of the two, burglary is considered quite a bit more serious. Burglary is a felony, while criminal trespass can be charged as a misdemeanor. Both crimes involve unlawfully entering another party’s property in some way, but there are a few key differences. If you are facing either charge, it is important that you understand the seriousness of the situation. You could face jail time for either offense. If you are charged with burglary, you face more than a year in prison. The maximum sentence for burglary is 20 years. Criminal trespass carries less than a year in jail in most cases, but probation is a possibility. With either charge, it is essential to find a good criminal defense lawyer. The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. is highly experienced in helping those charged with burglary, trespass, and other property crimes. 

How Burglary and Criminal Trespass Differ in Texas 

There are a few important distinctions between burglary and criminal trespass. First, burglary involves entry into a structure of some sort, such as a house or retail store. A burglary charge is generally a more serious felony if the structure unlawfully entered was a place where people live or sleep. However, breaking into a retail store or other type of building is still likely to be charged as a state jail felony. Criminal trespass, on the other hand, can be charged if the defendant merely entered the private land of another party knowing they did not have permission to be there. Trespass charges may also follow a break-in on a vehicle. 


Intent is important to either charge. In fact, to sustain a burglary conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit theft or another felony, like a serious assault, once inside the structure. If the prosecution cannot prove this, there may be a good chance that your charge could be reduced to criminal trespass. There is still an intent requirement when it comes to trespass charges. The defendant must have known that he was intruding onto the private property of another without permission. Simply getting lost on a hike and wandering onto private land would likely not meet the definition, whereas climbing over a fence marked “private property” likely would. 

Contact a Plano Property Crimes Lawyer 

The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. is experienced in defending those charged with trespass, burglary, and other related offenses. Our skilled Plano property crime attorneys will strive to bring about the best result possible in your case. To begin with a complimentary consultation, contact us at 214-544-0061


Source: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.30.htm

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