Burglary Of A Coin Operated Machine in Texas

The state of Texas has identified the crime of burglarizing a coin operated machine as a specific criminal offense. This means that the state has created a law that specifically targets this kind of crime. While Texas is the only state that currently has this kind of law on its books, the same activity is punished as a crime in other states under different types of laws.

Coin-Operated Machine

The Texas law against burglary of coin operated machines includes a wide variety of devices that are commonly known as vending machines. These devices can operate on coins or paper currency, and they can provide either goods or services. For example, you can commit the crime of burglary of a coin-operated machine if you break into a vending machine in an attempt to try to steal candy. You can also commit this crime if you break into a coin operated scale in an attempt to obtain the money in the machine.

(Texas Penal Code section 30.03.)

Entry

When many people hear the word “burglary” they think it involves some sort of breaking and entering. This is not necessarily true. The Texas law specifically recognizes that any entry into a coin-operated machine can constitute a burglary. This means that you do not have to cause any damage in your attempt to get inside the vending machine, nor do you actually have to steal anything. For example, you can commit a burglary of a coin-operated machine if you take a sledgehammer and break the glass of a vending machine in an attempt to obtain its contents. You can also commit this crime if you take a coat hanger and use it to fish out the vending machine's contents without actually causing any damage.

Consent and Intent

It is not a crime to break or enter into a coin-operated machine if you have the consent of the owner. The Texas law specifically requires that you break into the device with out the owner's permission or consent. Also, the law requires that you break into the machine with the intent to obtain goods or services. It doesn't matter if you fail in your attempt to obtain those items, all that matters is that you acted with the intention to obtain them illegally.

Penalties

Under Texas law, anyone convicted of burglary of a coin-operated machine faces some significant penalties. The crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor offense, the most significant type of misdemeanor in Texas. In other states similar penalties may apply to the same type of crime, though these penalties may differ significantly from the Texas penalties.

Texas Penal Code section 12.21

  • Fines. A Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas has a potential fine of up to $4,000. Misdemeanor offenses in other states could bring similar fines, though amounts of up to $1,000 or so are common.
  • Jail. Convictions for a misdemeanor offense can result in up to a year in a county jail. Jail sentences can be imposed in addition to fines or be given as a separate punishment. For example, a Texas court may sentence someone convicted of burglary of a coin-operated machine to a $1,000 fine, while someone else convicted of the same crime may be sentenced to 60 days in jail.
  • Restitution. Restitution is also a common sentence whenever someone commits a crime that results in property damage or the loss of property. When someone burglarizes a coin-operated machine, for example, the owner typically loses the value of the property taken as well as incurs expenses because of the damage. When the court sentences a person to pay restitution, it orders that person to pay a specific amount of money that is designed to compensate the owner for the loss of property or the expenses associated with the damage. Restitution must be paid in addition to any fines or jail time.
  • Probation. Burglary of a coin-operated machine can result in a probation sentence. Probation sentences typically last at least 12 months, but sentences of 24 months, 36 months, or even longer are possible. The court will require the person on probation to comply with a wide range of probation conditions. These usually include maintaining employment, not committing more crimes, reporting to a probation officer, paying all fines and restitution, and performing community service. Probation conditions can differ from case to case, but any violation can result in additional penalties, such as increased fines or having to serve the remainder of the sentence in jail.

Talk to a Local Lawyer

The burglary of a coin-operated machine in Texas, or any other state, is a significant crime. If you are charged with this crime you need to find a qualified criminal defense attorney in your area. A local defense lawyer will know how to evaluate your case and provide you legal advice based on his or her experience both with the law, as well as with the local courts, police, and prosecutors.

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