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Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering

Most property offenses occur when an individual intentionally takes, deprives, damages, or harms the property of another. Whether the property is inexpensive or extremely valuable, the Commonwealth imposes a variety of consequences on the offender.  As a practicing defense lawyer since 2002, I provide affordable fees and work unwaveringly on behalf of our clients, and seek for them the best outcome given the facts of their case.  I would invite you to contact me for a free consultation, and to learn about your options.

Breaking and Entering

In Massachusetts the crime of breaking and entering with the intention to commit a felony or misdemeanor is a serious crime.

Where Do Breaking and Entering Crimes Take Place

Breaking and entering can occur in a variety of places including:

  • Buildings
  • Ships
  • Vessels
  • Vehicles belonging to another person

How does Breaking and Entering take place?

Breaking and entering can take place either in the day time or at night. Any degree of physical force is used to gain unauthorized entry can create a criminal charge of breaking and entering.

The offender must enter the property using unlawful means. This often means that access is gained by breaking a window, picking a lock, etc. It can also include being let in by an accomplice or tricking another to gain access.

Entry means any portion of an individual’s body or entry of any instrument, including weapons) that is controlled by the individual.

The most important piece of this crime is that the individual must have the intent to break and enter into the specific location to commit a felony or misdemeanor. The government must be able to show this intent.

Types of Breaking & Entering Charges and Their Punishments

Different penalties may be imposed depending on the degree of harm caused (or intended to cause). In the case of coupling it with the intent to commit a felony or misdemeanor, the government does not have to show a specific act that was supposed to be committed; they simply must show that there was an intent to also commit an act of this nature.

The following are different variations of this crime in Massachusetts:

  1. Breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor – This offense generally requires the government to prove the same elements as well as the intent to commit a misdemeanor. However, the punishment is a fine of up to $200 and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
  1. Breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony – Commission of such an offense requires the general elements of breaking and entering, but the intention to commit a felony. Punishment includes imprisonment for up to 10 years. If the offender is also carrying a dangerous weapon, there is the possibility of a 5 year imprisonment sentence imposed and up to a 2 ½ year house of corrections stay.
    1. Committing this crime while armed mandates at least 5 years in a state prison or up to 2 ½ years in a house of corrections.
  1. Breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony without putting a person in fear – If no one is present at the time of the crime, the punishment changes. Punishments include imprisonment in a state prison for up to 10 years, fines of up to $500, or imprisonment in jail for not more than 2 years.
    1. Even if no one is put in fear, but a firearm or weapon is present, the punishment changes to at least 5 years in a state prison or up to 2 ½ years in a house of corrections.
  1. Entering a house by false pretenses is punishable under the laws of the Commonwealth. Using fraud or other falsities to gain entrance to a home is considered “constructive breaking and entering,” and  is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for up to 10 years and/or fines of $5000 and imprisonment in a house of corrections for up to 2 years.

Get Experienced Legal Counsel on Your Side

A conviction for breaking and entering can seriously affect your life. If you have been charged with this offense, please call me at your earliest convenience so that I can learn about your matter and begin protecting your rights.

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