What to Know About Breaking and Entering Charges in BC

Written by Jerry Steele

Criminal Defence

What to Know About Breaking and Entering Charges in BC

Written by Jerry Steele

Criminal Defence
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For more than 20 years, Steele Law has successfully guided individuals and business entities through the unique challenges posed by criminal and regulatory investigations, as well as prosecutions in state and federal courts nationwide.
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Breaking and entering charges refer to the offence of unlawfully gaining entry into someone else’s property without their permission, typically intending to commit a crime. This can include breaking a window or door, picking a lock, or any other method of gaining access to the property.

Types of Breaking Charges

In BC, there are two main types of breaking charges:

  • Break and Enter with Intent: This charge applies when the individual enters a property intending to commit an offence, such as theft or vandalism.
  • Break and Enter without Intent: This charge applies when the individual enters a property without any criminal intent but for other purposes, such as seeking shelter or intoxication.

Consequences of Breaking and Entering Charges

Under s. 348 of the Canadian Criminal Code, you could face life imprisonment if the break and entering is done in a dwelling property (where people live). Penalties tend to be less severe for break-and-enter charges in other places but could still come with up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. 

Evidence and Burden of Proof in Break and Entering Cases

The Crown counsel must prove the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden of proof means they must present evidence that clearly establishes each element of the offence to result in a conviction. 

Common types of evidence used in break-and-enter cases include:

  • Physical evidence such as fingerprints or DNA
  • Surveillance footage 
  • Witness testimonies
  • Proof of forced entry (like broken locks or windows) 
  • Circumstantial evidence

Possible Defences for Breaking Charges

If you hire a criminal defence lawyer in BC, they can create a defence strategy tailored to your case’s circumstances. Several potential defences can be used in break-and-enter cases, including:

  • Mistaken identity: Your lawyer may argue it wasn’t, in fact, you who committed the break-and-enter.
  • Lack of intent: If you are charged with breaking with intent, your lawyer may argue you did not have any criminal intention when entering the property. 
  • Lawful excuse: In some cases, there may be a valid reason for entering the property without permission, such as an emergency in which shelter was necessary or having permission from the owner.
  • Self-defence: This could be a possible defence if you entered the property to protect yourself or others from harm. 
  • Lack of evidence: The Crown prosecution’s case often relies heavily on evidence such as witness testimonies or physical evidence. Your lawyer may be able to challenge the credibility of these pieces of evidence, leading to a weaker case against you.

Call Jerry Steele for a Strong Defence Against Break and Entering Charges in BC

If you have been charged with breaking and entering in BC, you’ve found a top criminal defence lawyer to defend you: Jerry Steele. Let his years of experience and expertise in criminal law work for you. Jerry Steele will thoroughly investigate the details of your B&E case, analyze the evidence against you, and create a strong defence strategy to fight your charges. 

Call: 778-700-0012