Do you know the difference between burglary and theft in Texas?

There are many kinds of property and theft crimes, which can leave people feeling confused about what legal terms actually refer to. Theft itself is an umbrella term that refers to the inappropriate or illegal acquisition of an asset. Multiple kinds of theft crimes take place in Texas every day.

Shoplifting, also known as retail fraud, occurs when someone goes into a business and engages in one of many practices intended to deprive the company of the full value of items they sell. From taking items out of the store without paying for them to swapping labels, there are many forms of shoplifting.

Robbery is a form of theft that usually involves taking something directly from another person, often with implied or direct threats of violence. Finally, burglary is a kind of crime that involves a violation of property rights and the intention to commit an illegal act, commonly theft.

Burglary involves illegally entering someone’s property with criminal intent

The criminal offense of burglary sits at the awkward intersection of property rights and citizens’ rights. An individual who owns or rents a home or business property will typically store their own possessions or merchandise there.

Potential thieves will notice when people aren’t present and may try to capitalize on that absence. Some burglars tamper with doors or windows to allow for future access, while others simply kick down the front door or break a window.

Regardless of how they gain access to the property, they do so illegally without the consent of the owner. Burglars will then proceed to remove items that they know they do not own for their personal use or potential sale to others in the future.

Burglary can involve crimes other than theft or property other than real estate

Although usually treated specifically as a subcategory of theft crimes, it is not only the intent to steal that can lead to burglary charges but also the intent to commit any criminal act while illegally present on someone else’s property.

For example, if someone hides in a home or commercial building with the intent to assault or intimidate another person, that could give rise to burglary charges. Additionally, burglary doesn’t necessarily have to involve someone’s home or business. It can also involve a vehicle or even a coin-operated machine that someone breaks into with the intent of committing another crime.

Defending against burglary charges may involve undermining the assertion that there was intent to commit a crime or that the accused person’s presence violated property rights. Of course, different circumstances give rise to different options for a criminal defense, so a careful analysis of the situation leading to your arrest and the evidence against you will help you plan for the best strategy.

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