Entering a building without
permission, intending to commit a crime inside, is burglary. Surprisingly, you
needn’t “break and enter,” and you needn’t complete the intended crime. And
“buildings” can include all sorts of structures, even cars.
The crime of trespassing is committed by going onto property, usually property that belongs to someone else, without permission. But can people ever be charged and convicted of a crime for going onto their own property without permission?
Almost any item that could be used to force entry into a building or pick a lock can be a burglar’s tool if a person possesses the item with the intent to use it to commit burglary or some other crime. Many, but not all, states have laws against burglar’s tools (also called burglary tools or burglarious
Houses and other buildings that have been abandoned are often the site of criminal activity. State law varies on whether a person can be charged with burglarizing or trespassing on property that has been abandoned. Burglary and Trespassing Going onto property without permission can result in charges
Burglaries and thefts of construction sites are common. People often target homes under construction in the hope of stealing appliances, lights and fixtures, and construction materials and tools. In many states, a person who burglarizes a house under construction can be convicted of burglary or, sometimes,
In order to convict a person of burglary, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered a building or structure without permission with the intent commit a crime inside. For example, if a homeless person goes into a school to find shelter on a cold night, the person has not committed burglary
People can and are charged with and convicted of both burglary and the theft of goods taken during the burglary. Because the two crimes are separate, a person can be convicted of both crimes. Whether a person can be punished for both burglary and theft is a bit more complicated.