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Can I Get Arrested for Breaking into My Own House or Car?

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Breaking Into Your Own Property In Texas

It’s happened to nearly everyone at some point: we get in a hurry and rush out of the house and forget our keys or we lock our keys in our car. What’s the next step? For many people, it’s time to call a locksmith or a towing company. However, what if it’s the middle of the night or if the situation is urgent?

In this case, many people may try to break into their own house or car. While this tactic can be successful, it can have unintended consequences. It’s entirely possible that a neighbor or passerby might see this activity and call the police to report a burglary. Although this is unusual, this can and does happen. It’s possible for a person to get arrested for attempting to break into their own house or car in Texas.

What To Do

Anyone who finds themselves in the position of being arrested for breaking into their own property should follow a plan of action. Dealing with the police can be tense and unnerving, even if no crime has been committed. Remember, the person who called the police probably reported a burglary in process so the police will be looking for signs of criminal activity. That’s why it’s important to follow these steps:

  • Remain calm and courteous
  • Provide identification when asked
  • Explain the situation in detail
  • If handcuffed and questioned, cooperate respectfully

Although for many people, the natural reaction might be to become agitated and angrily demand to be let go, this isn’t a good plan. At this point, the police don’t know what is going on and they are cautious for any signs of trouble. Remaining calm can prevent the police from treating the situation as a dangerous crime.

The police officers will likely ask for identification and an explanation. Fortunately, this is a great time to defuse the situation. By providing a driver’s license or car insurance, it will usually be possible to prove that the person being questioned actually owns the property being broken into. By carefully explaining the situation in a calm and respectful manner, the situation can be resolved without incident. In fact, the police may even help the person gain entry into their property.

However, there is a chance that this situation could get worse.

The Worst Case Scenario

Imagine the scenario described above but add the following elements:

  • The person has no identification or proof of insurance on them
  • The home or car belongs to a former spouse
  • The person is intoxicated
  • The home or car has signs of forced entry

For example, if a person has a few too many drinks one night and goes to retrieve property from the home or car of their former spouse, this situation could escalate quickly. The officers might believe that violence or property damage was the goal in this situation and they might place the intoxicated person under arrest. After all, if the police have reason to believe that a crime is about to take place, they have legitimate probable cause to make an arrest.

Even if this occurs, it’s no time to panic. Staying calm and respectful is the best plan of action. However, if a person is arrested and taken to jail, trying to explain the situation may not help.

If this happens, it’s time to keep quiet and make a phone call to a lawyer. If the person doesn’t have a lawyer, it’s time to call friends or family who can post bail. For a simple burglary or public intoxication charge, the bail likely won’t be very high. Once bail has been posted, it’s time to find a lawyer and explain the situation. It’s still possible that charges might be filed but, with a lawyer’s help, a strong defense can be made.

If no lawyer is on retainer and bail can’t be posted, there’s still no need to worry. By law, a person can’t be held in jail for an indefinite time without charges. In most cases, a person will be charged with a crime or released within 72 hours. Once charges have been filed, a person can have a public defender appointed or they may be released on their own recognizance with a court date.

Although it’s uncommon for people to be arrested for breaking into their own house, it’s a possibility. That’s why it pays to be prepared. Knowing a good lawyer and remaining calm is the best way to handle this situation and avoid a criminal conviction.


Have you been arrested for breaking into your own property? Contact a lawyer that can navigate the legal system and get you on your way. Attorney Brett Podolsky knows how to do just that. Email or call his office today at (713) 227-0087.

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