While in court this week I had a person ask me about possible representation on a burglary charge. Upon speaking with this individual, I think he was confused by the definition of burglary in Texas. In addition, I don’t think he really grasped the true severity of this crime. While there are proposed changes to the definition of burglary in the Texas Penal Code going into effect this September, let’s look at the history of the offense of burglary up until now.
The truth of the matter is that aside from murder, burglary and robbery were once thought of as some of the most egregious of crimes in colonial America and England. In my opinion, not much has changed. Juries just don’t like burglars and robbers. Worse than thieves, burglars and robbers threaten our lives and well-being. Thieves are thought of as being sneaky trying to take your property without being detected. Burglars evoke an uneasy feeling of being violated. After all, what is more discomforting than the thought of someone rifling through your possessions in your own home uninvited? While robbers generally grab and go, burglars try to find an unoccupied home and take their time. The burglar can do much more damage and cost the victim more because they can take their time emptying the contents of your home.
The definition of burglary has changed over time and to get to the modern definition you need to look at the history of burglary. The crime has always reflected the breaking into the home or building of another and what flows from the damages caused to people and their property.