Breaking and Entering
Breaking and entering, in most criminal law statutes, is defined as using force to gain unlawful entry onto land or an enclosed property structure. Such an occurrence will be prosecuted as Break And Enter Defence which is quite similar to criminal trespassing charges.
Furthermore, breaking and entering does not always imply that a property has been destroyed or “broken.” Even if the defendant just pushed open an unlocked door to gain access to the property, criminal charges can still be filed. If a defendant bribed or deceived a security guard to obtain access into a commercial building, they could face charges.
Finally, while the differences will be examined in greater depth below, it is crucial to remember that breaking and entering does not always imply burglary. In order to be charged with burglary, the defendant must have entered the building or dwelling with the intention to conduct another felony.
How Can You Prove the Crime of Breaking and Entering?
To secure a breaking and entering charge, the prosecutor must prove several elements.
In general, this could include the following:
- Unauthorized entry;
- into another’s building or property;
- with the use of force, deception, or property damage;
- and without the building and/or property owner’s approval or authorization.
To be prosecuted for breaking and entering in most provinces, the defendant does not have to physically “break” or “force” their way into a property. If the other elements are fulfilled, any unlawfully gained entry into a building may be considered breaking and entering.
As an example, a defendant can be charged with breaking and entering if they climb a tree and enter a second-floor window that has previously been opened without the owner’s permission.
The penalties that a person may face, if convicted of breaking and entering, can be severe.
The following is a list of possible consequences for a breaking and entering conviction:
- A set amount of time in jail or in prison (typically a year or more);
- fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000;
- probation or parole;
- and restitution.
It’s also worth noting that if the charge results in a conviction, the offense will be kept on the person’s criminal record for the rest of their life. This can have serious consequences, such as preventing you from voting in elections or obtaining custody of your children.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Breaking and Entering Charges?
Breaking and entering is a legal offense that might be difficult to prove. Such cases, for example, frequently include burglary charges as well. This can make a case considerably more complex to handle, requiring the use of legal advisers. Feel free to contact our FMK Law Group lawyers for any legal advice.