Under Texas law, a person commits the offense of burglary of a vehicle if, without the effective consent of the owner, that person breaks into or enters a vehicle or any part of a vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or theft.
Entering a vehicle means to intrude any enclosed portion of the vehicle or any physical object connected to the body into the vehicle. Without making an entry, the charge would most likely be classified as theft.
PUNISHMENT FOR BURGLARY OF MOTOR VEHICLE CHARGE
In Texas, burglary of a vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. This is the highest level misdemeanor offenses in Texas.
Restitution is a common penalty when someone commits a crime that results in property damage or the loss of property. It is also in addition to any fines and jail time. This is designed to compensate the owner for the loss of property or the expenses associated with the damage.
Another form of punishment is probation. These sentences can last up to two years and could possibly be extended. As a requirement by the court, a person on probation will be given conditions they must comply to. These conditions include reporting to a probation officer, paying fines and restitution on time, performing community service, maintaining employment and not committing more crimes. Violation of probation can result in additional penalties.
PREVIOUS BURGLARY OF MOTOR VEHICLE CHARGE
If the state’s attorneys can prove that you have been convicted once before for this offense, the punishment for BMV will become more harsh.
Below are the ranges for punishment:
DEFENSE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE CHARGE
Someone has been arrested because the police believe that they broke into or entered someone else’s vehicle without their consent. The state’s lawyers will then have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to commit a theft or a felony when you entered the vehicle in order to convict you of Burglary of Vehicles.
Other forms of defense include but are not limited to:
- Consent of the owner to enter the vehicle;
- Mistaken Identity;
- Lack of evidence
Allegations of theft are nothing to take lightly in Texas considering the steep penalties. If you’ve been charged with burglarizing a motor vehicle, then get in contact with an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney who handles these types of cases on a regular basis. With an in-depth knowledge of theft laws in Texas as well as years of practice, Attorney Shane Lewis will find the best defense strategy possible for his clients.