Picture of the author

What is Burglary in Corpus Christi, Texas?

Burglary Lawyer

Burglary is a property offense in Corpus Christi that involves two elements:

  • Entering or remaining in a structure of habitation without the effective consent of the owner.
  • Intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. 

The element of entering is deemed completed as soon as the intruder enters the building with a body part or physical object, no matter how slight, such incursion may be. Also, a habitation is described as any structure or vehicle used or adapted for overnight accommodation.  Further, the element of intent to commit a serious offense is also satisfied where the accused eventually commits or attempts to commit a crime. 
In 2016, Corpus Christi, Texas, recorded 2,296 burglary incidents. These numbers dropped to 1,961 in 2019 but increased to 2,035  in 2020.

What is the Difference Between a Robbery and Burglary in Corpus Christi?

There are fundamental differences between the elements of robbery and burglary in Corpus Christi. Notably, robbery refers to the use of violence or fear of it to commit theft. However, the use of force or threat on a person is not an element of burglary. 

Further, both offenses have different resulting punishments. The minimum charge of burglary is a state jail felony punishable with up to two years in jail. Meanwhile, the minimum charge of robbery is a second-degree felony attracting between two to 20 years in prison. Both crimes also have respective factors that can elevate the charges to higher degrees of a felony. 

Law enforcement in Corpus Christi recorded 478 robberies and 2,035 burglaries in 2020. 

How to Beat a Burglary Charge in Corpus Christi

Persons facing burglary charges in Corpus Christi can get the best possible outcome in their case by engaging the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney.  The attorney would usually examine the relevant facts of the case and determine the most suitable defense strategy to either dismiss or reduce the charge. 

A common defense strategy is to create reasonable doubts in the prosecution's case. This can be done in several ways, including presenting an alibi to show that the accused was not within the building or structure during the burglary or creating doubt about the scientific reliability of forensic evidence. 

The defense may also argue that the accused’s entry or presence in the building was authorized by the owner or occupier. As such, the building was not burgled. A similar argument is that the part of the building entered by the accused was generally open to the public at that time.  This is an effective defense considering that burglary can only be committed on the part of a building not open to the public. 

Finally, situations like voluntary intoxication, mistake of fact, or mental illness can be a defense since burglary requires the specific intent to commit an offense inside a building.

What are the Degrees of Burglary in Corpus Christi?

Burglary charges are classified based on the seriousness of offense and degree of punishments as:

  • First-Degree Felony: attracts between five and 99 years in prison. The penalties may also include a  fine not exceeding $10,000. Applies to a burglary on a habitation, including other felony offenses besides felony theft.
  • Second-Degree Felony: attracts a prison term of two to 20 years, which may also include a fine not exceeding $10,000. Applies to a burglary on a habitation, including a felony theft or assault.
  • Third-Degree Felony: Attracts two to ten years of incarceration. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed. Applies to the burglary of a commercial building with the intent to steal a controlled substance. 
  • State Jail Felony: Attracts six months to two years in prison, including a fine of up to $10,000. Applies to a burglary on a building that is not a habitation. 

Residential Burglary vs Commercial Burglary in Corpus Christi

Residential and commercial burglary are treated differently in Corpus Christi. Residential burglary is generally referred to as burglary of habitation under the Texas Penal Code. This refers to burglary conducted against a home or any structure or vehicle that has been modified for such purpose. On the other hand, commercial burglary is only a distinct offense if the premises burgled contain controlled drugs. 

Both types of burglary also have varying punishments. Burglary of a residence is a second-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. In contrast, entering a business building with the purpose of stealing a restricted drug is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.