Breaking and Entering Law Texas
The state of Texas classifies the act of breaking and entering as "criminal trespass" under the Texas Penal Code. Even if the act of breaking and entering does not include burglary, it is still punishable with fines and jail time.
According to Texas breaking and entering law, an individual is trespassing if they have been found entering or remaining in the property of another person without consent, including agricultural land, residential land, a vehicle park, or their mode of transport. Breaking and entering law in the state of Texas require evidence to show that the individual had a notice stating that entry was forbidden for them, or stayed on despite getting warnings to leave. Furthermore, breaking and entering law states that full intrusion of one's body into the forbidden area is necessary for the crime to hold up in court, regardless of whether the individual had the intent of burglary or not.
Notice of Criminal Trespass
According to the breaking and entering the law of Texas, the individual convicted of this crime should have to have a notice sent to them, in order for the act to be declared as a crime. There are several examples which constitute notice with regard to breaking and entering laws, including:
- Any enclosure which is designed to explicitly keep intruders away, or contains livestock inside.
- Signage posted at the entrance of the property or in a place visible to all, sating that entry is not allowed in the place.
- Identifying purple paint on trees or posts, which are "do not intrude" marks set as per the Texas statute.
- The accused individual receiving special written or oral communication by the owner of the property, stating that their illegal entry into the property is not appreciated. The communication could either come from the owner themselves or from someone acting on behalf of the owner.
Punishment for Breaking and Entering in Texas
Texas breaking and entering law classify the act as a misdemeanor, and provide appropriate penalties to the accused. Breaking and entering laws do not only include fees and jail time; in some instances, they could also include the accused getting their driver's license suspended, jeopardizing their immigration status, and getting declined from being accepted for student loans.
The legal punishment for breaking and entering in Texas are as follows:
- Class C Misdemeanor: A Class C Misdemeanor carries the lightest punishment in matters of breaking and entering. It is usually applied when the accused is found within 100 feet of the boundary of an agricultural land, or within 100 feet of a freshwater area in the case of residential property. A Class C Misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of up to $500, with no jail time involved.
- Class B Misdemeanor: A Class B Misdemeanor is classified as the typical punishment an individual faces if they have been convicted of breaking and entering. Crimes of Class B Misdemeanor include a fine of up to $2,000 along with jail time of a maximum of 180 days. The final punishment depends on the area that was breaking into, and whether the accused is a repeat offender.
- Class A Misdemeanor: A Class A Misdemeanor is the most serious form of criminal trespass. It occurs when breaking and entering transform into habitation in places such as a family violence habitation center, a critical infrastructure facility, or a Superfund site. Charges may be further increased if the accused is found with a weapon on their person. The punishment which comes with a Class A Misdemeanor of breaking and entering includes a jail time of up to 1 year and a maximum fine of $4000.