Breaking and entering is a term that is often tossed around, but has become such a popular buzzword that its meaning is often misunderstood. To have a comprehensive and well-rounded understanding of what breaking and entering is, one must carefully examine the phrase without considering its popular, and often misplaced, usage.
What Does It Mean?
Put simply, to break and enter is to forcefully enter a residence, or any other private property, without receiving permission from the property owner. In this case, “forcefully” can mean with any amount of force, which includes everything from breaking open a window to gently opening an unlocked door.
What Comes Along With This?
Breaking and entering, while an often heard term, is rarely charged alone. If the person suspected of breaking and entering intends to commit a crime, then they may be charged with burglary. If there is no intention to commit a crime, other than breaking and entering, then this will often be considered an “illegal trespass,” and thus a misdemeanor.
What Punishments Can This Earn?
If breaking and entering is the sole charge or attributed to “illegal trespassing,” then it is considered a misdemeanor and sentencing will typically be light, with less than one year of jail time in the vast majority of sentences.
If, however, breaking and entering is charged in tandem with burglary, then the crime becomes a felony and the suspect is subject to much harder penalization, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines and contact to Best Lawyers in America.
In some cases, breaking and entering may accrue additional punishments even if it is not considered to be burglary. If there are “aggravating factors” like extensive property damage or serious injury lawyers caused to a person during the trespassing, then to break and enter may, by itself, be a felony.