Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime with Intent to Commit a Felony
Greater Boston Area Felony Crimes Defense Attorney
In the state of Massachusetts, breaking and entering is defined as entering any type of location (a home, an office building, or even a car) without permission and with the intent of committing a crime. Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime with the Intent to Commit a Felony is a serious crime, with potentially severe penalties, governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 § 16.
Penalties For A Conviction
Anyone found guilty of breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony faces imprisonment in a state prison for a maximum of 20 years, or imprisonment in the house of corrections for a maximum of 2 ½ years.
In order to obtain a conviction for Breaking and Entering in the nighttime with the Intent to Commit a Felony in Massachusetts the prosecutor has to establish:
- That the defendant broke into another person’s home, motor vehicle or building;
- The defendant then entered that home, motor vehicle or building;
- The defendant entered with the intention of committing a felony;
- These events took place during the nighttime.
What is “Breaking?”
In order to be charged with breaking and entering, it is not necessary to physically break into a house or building. However, something more than merely the act of trespassing is required — crossing over a land boundary and one somebody else’s property is not sufficient legal grounds to constitute “breaking.” On the other hand, “breaking” doesn’t require actual property damage either. All that the prosecution has to show is that defendant opened some portion of the building in order to gain entry into the building. Sliding open a widow or door left carelessly unlocked is enough to subject yourself to prosecution.
The prosecution doesn’t have to show that the defendant was the one that actually physically moved a portion of the building (door, window) in order to gain entry. If the defendant arranged to have an accomplice in the building let him/her in then the prosecution can establish the breaking element.
What Is “Entering?”
In order to prove the defendant actually entered the building the prosecution has to show that the defendant intruded or crossed into some portion of the building. You can be charged with breaking and entering even if you did not completely enter the building. For example, the prosecution can show “entry” occurred if he/she can prove the defendant simply reached through a window in order to grab a purse sitting on a kitchen counter.
Entry can also be shown where the defendant inserts a tool or instrument into the building to commit a crime inside the building even if a portion of the defendant body never crosses into the building. If the defendant sticks a broom hand through a window in order the steal a purse resting on the back of a kitchen chair then the defendant can be found to have used the tool to commit a crime (larceny) inside the building. However, if the instrument is used to commit the break-in (like when a throwing a brick through a window in order to gain entry) and accidentally crosses into the building then entry wont be found. That is because the brick in this scenario was used to break into the building and not to commit a crime within the building. If the defendant threw a brick through a window in order hit a person inside the building then entry would likely be found because the defendant in this case was using the break to commit a crime within the building (assault and battery in this case) in addition the breaking into the building. So it all depends on what the tool or instrument was used for. If the tool was used to break-in then the prosecutor can prove entry. On the other hand if the tool or instrument was used to commit a crime within the building (using the broom to steal the purse) then entry will have occurred.
Definition of Nighttime
“Nighttime” is defined as any time one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. If the prosecution is unable to prove the offense took place during the nighttime then the defendant can still be found guilty of breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony.
Charged with Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime with Intent to Commit a Felony? Our Boston Area Felony Crimes Defense Attorneys Can Help.
If you have been charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony you could be sentenced to a state prison term for up to 20 years, or imprisonment in the house of corrections for up to of 2 ½ years. Our knowledgeable and experienced Greater Boston Area felony crimes criminal defense law attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts, including but not limited to Quincy, Plymouth, Brockton, Taunton, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Attleboro, Canton, Weymouth, Hingham, Stoughton and all smaller cities and rural areas in Southern Massachusetts. We also serve the counties of Plymouth, Norfolk and Bristol, Massachusetts.
No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call us to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to confront this important matter. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.