To What Extent Is Breaking And Entering Considered An Offense?

July 20, 2016 at 10:33 pm

man breaking into a homeBreaking and entering law refers to the law that covers the fact of forcefully, or otherwise, trespassing into a property or premise, usually with the intention to commit a crime.

As is suggested by the name, there are two major elements of this law. There has to be the act of breaking in as well as entering. The property in question could range from residential premises, commercial premises or even a personal structure such as a boat.


Incorporation into the Penal Code

For many years, the crime of breaking and entering was often regarded with insignificance. This was until the victims began to suffer gross losses and in other cases grievous bodily harm as a result of resisting the assailants.

It is for this reason that different state jurisdictions thought it wise to transition this offense from the category of common law into the penal code, thereby prescribing stiffer penalties for the offenders.


Arguing the Merits of the Law

The law of breaking and entering has various grey areas and one of those often lies in the difficulty or inability to actually determine whether the entry was forceful or intended to cause any harm.

Legal experts have often drawn the parameters for arguing the merits of this case and one of those is determining whether the property being broken into is actually able to house people, merchandise or is of a significant financial value.

Additionally, the structure in question has to be closed to the public at the moment the breaking in occurs. This means that it does not necessarily amount to breaking and entering if one happens to enter a store during its normal hours of operation.

Last but not least, the forceful entry into abandoned structures may not be covered under this law. This is due to the assumption that the abandoned structures may not necessarily have any financial value and thus the fact of breaking into them may not have been inspired by any ill intention.

“It’s important to have an attorney on your side that knows local law because state and county laws can differ from one location to another.” – Criminal Defense Attorney.


Like is the case with any criminal act, the timing of breaking and entering may also be used to determine the intent. This often calls for the presumption of premeditation.

Let’s take a case in point – if you happen to have received threatening messages from an unidentified person and then it happens that breaking and entering occurs in the height of these happenings, then ill intent can safely be presumed.



Having been incorporated into the penal code, the offense of breaking and entering often receives varied sentences depending upon the intensity as well as the associated damages caused.