Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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Holiday Gifts and Thieves

The holiday season is a joyous time of cheer and merriment, but it also can be a dangerous time when criminals break into homes or cars to steal presents. Breaking into cars as people shop for gifts always increase during the holiday season. Law enforcement suggests shoppers follow these rules to keep their presents save inside the car and away from holiday thieves.

  • Park your car in a well-lit and traveled area

  • Keep your car doors locked

  • Keep expensive items out of view

  • Put Christmas gifts in the trunk of car

  • Do not leave keys in the car

If you are charged with “breaking and entering” a car, home, or other personal property, the consequences can be serious. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn your legal options.

Penalties will vary for "breaking and entering" into another person's home or personal property. It depends on the time of day the incident occurred. When the crime happened at night, the penalties may include up to 20 years in prison.

If the "breaking and entering" happened during the day hours, the perpetrator can get up to 10 years in prison. If the perpetrator was carrying a firearm, the penalties increase to a minimum of five years in prison.

To be convicted of “breaking and entering," it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the following elements took place.

  • The perpetrator committed the crime during a particular time (night or day).

  • The perpetrator did break into a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle belonging to another person.

  • The perpetrator entered a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle belonging to another person.

  • The perpetrator had intent to commit a felony.

In the Commonwealth, it is also illegal to create or carry burglary tools with the intent to use them in a crime or allow these instruments to be used in a crime. These instruments could be tools for prying open doors, windows, vaults or other materials used for entry or stealing from the personal property of another person. The penalties for possessing a burglary tool with intent to use it may include up to 10 years in prison.

A crime that is associated with "breaking and entering" is trespass. To be charged with trespass, one must knowingly enter a private property or structure without any authority to enter the property or dwelling. Even though there is no intent to commit a crime inside, the unlawful entry of trespass is a crime by itself. You can be charged or arrested. Penalties for trespass include up to 30 days in jail, along with a fine or both.

If you have been accused of "breaking and entering" or a similar crime, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include significant jail or prison time and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.