For many, purchasing a car is a crowning achievement. After all, it’s a costly investment that many people work incredibly hard to achieve. That’s why it can be devastating to discover someone has broken into a vehicle to steal. As such, Texas can be harsh when punishing offenders. If you have been charged with vehicle burglary, understanding the penalties you can face if convicted is critical. Additionally, you’ll want to keep reading to learn why you must call Houston theft crime lawyers to obtain quality legal representation if charged.

What Is Vehicle Burglary?

Two facets must be proven to convict someone of vehicle burglary. Firstly, someone must break and enter into a vehicle without the permission of the owner. Additionally, the person must have the intent to steal or commit another crime within the car.

It’s important to note that you do not need to physically break into the vehicle or pick the car’s lock to be charged with this crime. As such, you will still be charged with vehicle burglary if you enter an unlocked vehicle with intent to commit a crime.

What Are the Penalties for This Crime?

It’s important to understand that the penalties for vehicle burglary will change depending on the circumstances of the crime.

Generally, this is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor may not seem intense, if you have a prior criminal record, you can face a minimum of six months in jail. However, the maximum penalties for a Class A misdemeanor are up to one year behind bars and a fine of up to $4,000.

Additionally, if you have been convicted of two or more vehicle burglary offenses or broke into a rail car, you will face a state jail felony. As such, you will face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Finally, if you break into a vehicle owned by a wholesale prescription drug distributor or break in with the intent of taking a controlled substance from inside the vehicle, you will face a third-degree felony. This warrants two to ten years in prison.

It is also necessary to understand that if you commit this offense during an evacuation or state of emergency order, the charge will increase to the next highest offense.

How Can an Attorney Assist Me?

When you are facing a vehicle burglary charge, enlisting the guidance of an experienced lawyer is critical. They will not only help ensure your rights are protected during this process, but they will examine your circumstances to help determine the best course of action for your needs. For example, they may be able to craft a solid defense or negotiate a plea bargain with the protection to give you the best possible outcome.

When you are in legal trouble, the Sparks Law Firm, PC, can help. We believe everyone should have quality representation when facing criminal charges that will impact the rest of their lives, which is why we are committed to fighting for our clients. Connect with our team today to learn more.