Break and Enter
Break and enter is a common property crime in Toronto and Ontario. It is often charged with other offences, including theft, assault, or other offences. Related offences include being unlawfully in a dwelling.
Misha has experience defending all types of break and enter charges, including residential break and enters, commercial break and enters, home invasion robberies and others. Depending on the facts of the case, different approaches may be necessary. Some cases can resolve on terms favourable to the accused person, while some cases have to go to trial. Experienced counsel can assist in determining the strength of the Crown’s case and determining the right path to take. Contact Misha to discuss your case.
What is Break and Enter?
Break and enter is codified in s. 348 of the Criminal Code.
Break and enter is the offence of breaking and entering a place and intending or actually committing another offence, like theft, robbery, or assault. Where the break and enter is into an occupied dwelling, such as a house, residence, or apartment, then the offence is an indictable offence. If the place is not a dwelling house, then the matter is a hybrid offence, with the procedure and sentence determined by a Crown election.
Being unlawfully in a dwelling is codified in s. 349 of the Criminal Code.
The offence of being unlawfully in a dwelling is a close relation to break and enter. It does not require any ‘breaking’ but is the offence of being in a dwelling without lawful excuse but with the intent to commit an offence. It is a summary conviction offence, and attracts substantially lower sentences than the offence of break and enter.
What is the Penalty for Break and Enter? Is there Jail Time?
When the offence is committed in relation to a dwelling house, the maximum sentence is life in prison. Aggravating factors like the damage caused to the property, the scale of any loss, whether there were individuals present at the time of the break and enter, or whether the break and enter can be categorized as a ‘home invasion’ where violence was used, can dramatically increase the sentence. Where the offence is committed in relation to a non-residential property, sentences are typically lower.
What happens if you're charged with Break and Enter?
Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time, but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.
At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.
Contact our office if a friend or family member has been charged with an offence, or if they are being held for bail.
Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Break and Enter?
Only a careful review of your matter can give you the advice you need to make crucial decisions on your case and your life. A careful review may reveal gaps or problems with the Crown’s case. Contact experienced trial counsel before deciding to plead guilty.
First Time Break and Enter Charges
The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including Break and Enter, for the first time are usually treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.
Break and Enter Legislation
Breaking and entering with intent, committing offence or breaking out
348 (1) Every one who
(a) breaks and enters a place with intent to commit an indictable offence therein,
(b) breaks and enters a place and commits an indictable offence therein, or
(c) breaks out of a place after
(i) committing an indictable offence therein, or
(ii) entering the place with intent to commit an indictable offence therein,
(d) if the offence is committed in relation to a dwelling-house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, and
(e) if the offence is committed in relation to a place other than a dwelling-house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) For the purposes of proceedings under this section, evidence that an accused
(a) broke and entered a place or attempted to break and enter a place is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that he broke and entered the place or attempted to do so, as the case may be, with intent to commit an indictable offence therein; or
(b) broke out of a place is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that he broke out after
(i) committing an indictable offence therein, or
(ii) entering with intent to commit an indictable offence therein.
Marginal note:Definition of place
(3) For the purposes of this section and section 351, place means
(a) a dwelling-house;
(b) a building or structure or any part thereof, other than a dwelling-house;
(c) a railway vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or a trailer; or
(d) a pen or an enclosure in which fur-bearing animals are kept in captivity for breeding or commercial purposes.
Being unlawfully in dwelling-house
349 (1) Every person who, without lawful excuse, enters or is in a dwelling-house with intent to commit an indictable offence in it is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) For the purposes of proceedings under this section, evidence that an accused, without lawful excuse, entered or was in a dwelling-house is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that he entered or was in the dwelling-house with intent to commit an indictable offence therein.