Break and Enter
Break and enter allegations are serious. Generally, break and enter charges involve breaking into residential homes, businesses or commercial properties with the intention to commit an indictable offence.
Despite what you may think, you do not actually need to break or force entry somewhere in order to be charged with the criminal offence. There have been instances where walking through an open door has been held to constitute a break and enter. It is important to remember that a conviction of the crime is not dependent on any damage to the property that was entered.
Usually, break and enters are committed by people trying to steal property. In doing so, they have committed the indictable offence of theft or possession of property obtained by crime while breaking and entering. If the person does not have the intention to commit an indictable offence, but does unlawfully enter a premise, the court may find that he or she committed other offences under the Criminal Code.
The maximum punishment for break and enter can be up to life imprisonment. If the offence is in relation to a place other than a home, if convicted, the term of imprisonment could range from a finding of guilt to a maximum of 10 years in jail.
Unlawfully in a Dwelling
It is common to also be charged with unlawfully in a dwelling if a person has been charged with break and enter. If a person is found in any sort of residence that they were not invited to, they could be charged with being unlawfully in a dwelling-house. It is also assumed that the person had criminal intentions, such as theft or to provoke an unwanted encounter with persons in the home while in the residence.
In order for someone to be found guilty of unlawfully in a dwelling-house, the Crown must prove that the person had no justification for being on the premise and no intention to commit an indictable offence.
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending against serious break and enter allegations. If you or someone you know has been charged with break and enter you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions for Break and Enter
What is Break and Enter?
In Canada, break and enter charges involves one entering into residential homes, businesses, or commercial properties, without consent, with the intention to commit an indictable offence.
Is Breaking and Entering a Felony in Canada?
In Canada, our criminal offences are considered as summary, hybrid, or indictable. If the break and enter occurs in a residential home, it is a straight indictable offence. If the break and enter occurs in any other location, it is a hybrid offence where the Crown can elect to proceed by summary election or by indictment.
Is it Break and Enter if the Door is Unlocked?
Yes. The offence of break and enter only requires you to enter somewhere where you should not be. So, it is not a defence to say that the door was unlocked or open. For example, one can be charged with break and enter by going behind the counter at a kiosk, even though the kiosk has no doors.
What Sentence Will I Get for a Break and Enter?
The maximum punishment for Break and Enter involving a dwelling house is up to life imprisonment. If the offence is in relation to a place other than a home, the term for imprisonment if convicted can range from a criminal record to 10 years in jail depending on how the Crown proceeds with the case.
At a sentencing hearing, the judge will need to consider the facts of your case, aggravating and mitigating factors, and your background in order to fashion an appropriate and fit sentence. This is a contextual analysis. However, a break and enter, or a home invasion into a residence will carry a heavier sentence than one at a commercial establishment.
How Can I Beat My Break and Enter Charge?
There are numerous potential defences to a break and enter which includes identity, consent from the property owner, the lack of an intention to commit an indictable offence, or a Charter defence. Each of these defences if successful could lead to your acquittal of the charges. Since each case Is different, a lawyer can review your case to determine which defence(s) could give you the best chance of success at trial.