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What is Burglary in Arlington, Texas?

Burglary encompasses a variety of unique types of theft in Arlington, Texas. It is a severe offense in which the prosecution contends that a defendant broke into a privately owned structure or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. The charge also applies if a person remains concealed within a building with the intent to commit an offense.

A burglary conviction in Arlington requires two key components. The first is an illegal or unauthorized entry into the building or structure, and the second is the accused’s criminal intent. Even if the accused did not succeed in carrying out the criminal act, the allegation of burglary might still hold if the intent to commit the offense can be proven.

Burglaries can be classified into several categories in Arlington:

  • Burglary of a vehicle or machine: A vehicle or machine is any device that allows a person or property to be moved for transportation purposes. The offense is punishable by up to 365 days in county jail and a $4,000 fine.
  • Burglary of a Building: A building is any enclosed structure intended to be utilized or occupied as a person's residence or for trade or production. According to the law, the offense is punishable by up to 2 years in state jail and a $10,000 fine. 
  • Burglary of a Habitation: A habitation is any structure or vehicle built or utilized to provide overnight lodging. This offense is considered a 2nd-degree felony that carries a prison term of 2 and 20 years and a $10,000 fine. Under specific circumstances, burglary of a habitation offense can become a 1st-degree felony, punishable by incarceration of up to 99 years and a $10,000 fine.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), 1,305 burglaries were recorded in Arlington in 2019, which equates to 324 burglaries per 100,000 people. Also, 1,211 incidents were recorded in 2020 and 1,011 cases in 2021. Consequently, the city has experienced a steady decrease in the frequency of burglary incidents over the years.

What is the Difference Between a Robbery and Burglary in Arlington, Texas?

When someone enters a building or home without the owner's permission to commit theft or other felony crimes, that person commits a burglary. On the other hand, robbery is a more serious crime in which the perpetrator intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to another person while attempting to steal from them. 

Both charges can be elevated to more serious charges with severe penalties. Burglary charges might be escalated based on the type of property invaded and the offense committed within the property. On the other hand, robbery charges can be elevated to aggravated robbery. Aggravated robbery is committed when an individual causes substantial physical damage to another person or employs or displays a lethal weapon during the robbery. It also covers allegations in which the accused victim is above the age of 65 or the victim is cognitively challenged. Robbery is classified as a 2nd-degree felony charge, whereas aggravated robbery is classified as a 1st-degree felony. 

How to Beat a Burglary Charge in Arlington, Texas

A person may be charged with burglary in Arlington, Texas, if the prosecution determines that every criterion of the crime was met:

  • The defendant was not authorized or permitted to be on the premises at the time of the incident
  • The defendant had criminal intentions.

Burglary offenses in Arlington can result in harsh punishments, depending on the severity of the offense. Retaining the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the legal and administrative requirements for building a defense may be crucial to securing the best possible outcome. An experienced defense attorney may be a useful asset in determining the appropriate legal approach for a particular case. This is important since the defenses available will vary depending on the circumstances of the alleged act. Given the seriousness of the potential repercussions, the assistance of an experienced defense attorney might make a difference in the outcome of the case.

There are several possible defenses that can be employed:

  • Consent to enter property: It is conceivable to argue that the defendant entered the property with the owner's permission. For this defense to be effective, there must be proof that the plaintiff granted permission willingly and they were capable of consenting.
  • Coercion: In this case, the defense claims that the defendant committed the crime because they were under imminent fear of serious physical harm.
  • Intoxication: Intoxication might be a defense if the defendant was intoxicated to the extent that it was impossible to form an intent. This defense is acceptable regardless of whether the defendant willingly became inebriated. Because this defense may result in further charges, it should only be utilized after careful evaluation.
  • Absence of a criminal intent to commit a crime: If the prosecution is not able to successfully establish the accused’s intent to commit a crime on the premises, the defense may be able to lean in on this to show that an important element of burglary was missing.  
  • No entry: This is a claim that the accused never entered the home or structure in dispute. Simply strolling around the exterior of a building or dwelling is insufficient evidence to establish the criminal element of entry into a structure or residence. 
  • Public access: This is an assertion that the defendant entered the building when it was open to the public. If the building was accessible to the public, the prosecution might be able to prove the lesser crime of theft, but they will not be able to demonstrate burglary.

What are the Degrees of Burglary in Arlington, Texas?

Burglary in Arlington may be classified into several categories:

This happens when an individual enters or remains within a home or apartment without first obtaining authorization from the property owner, and with the intent to commit an assault or steal from the premises. If they planned to conduct theft, then burglary would be prosecuted as a 2nd-degree felony, and they will be sentenced accordingly. Any other planned offense would be a 1st-degree felony.

The penalties for a 2nd-degree felony conviction include a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. A 1st-degree felony conviction will result in a sentence ranging from 5 years to life imprisonment. The burglary of habitation statute is unique in that it considers whether or not the individual(s) involved stole during the burglary. As such, a defendant is not required to complete a burglary to be charged with the offense. Simply breaking into a house to commit theft or any other crime is all that is required.

  • Burglary of a non-residential structure

It is unlawful to enter or remain within a building that does not have residential habitations with the intention of committing theft, assault, or any other offense regarded as a crime under the state's criminal code. If the building is not used as a dwelling, a conviction is considered a state jail felony. A state jail felony is the least serious type of felony charged in Arlington, Texas. It carries a sentence ranging from 180 days to 2 years in state prison. Those found guilty may also be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000. If a defendant already has a felony conviction on their record, or the individual used a lethal weapon, a court may upgrade the charge to a 1st or 2nd-degree felony, which carries a more severe punishment.

  • Burglary of a vehicle

Burglary of a motor vehicle or a vending machine is classified as a Class-A misdemeanor in Arlington. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a fine of up to $4,000, or a combination of both penalties.

If the accused has already been convicted of this offense more than once, the individual will face penalties associated with a state jail felony. 

Residential Burglary vs Commercial Burglary

Residential burglary refers to a burglary that occurs within a dwelling. This includes any illegal entrance into structures or vehicles designed or converted to provide overnight accommodation for one or more individuals. Examples are apartments, houses, house trailers, recreational vehicles, and even automobiles used as temporary residences.

On the other hand, commercial burglaries occur in facilities or constructions designed for commercial reasons. The offense is committed when a person or persons enter a business or commercial facility or structure unlawfully without permission, or past working hours, with the intent to commit a crime such as theft, assault, etc.