Breaking & Entering

The crime of breaking and entering is different than what you may picture in your head when you hear the name of the offense. In Massachusetts the Commonwealth must prove four things to establish that a breaking and entering occurred. Those things are:

  • First: That the defendant broke into a (building) (ship) (vessel) (vehicle) belonging to another person;
  • Second: That the defendant entered that (building) (ship) (vessel) (vehicle);
  • Third: That the defendant did so with the intent to commit a felony or misdemeanor in that (building) (ship) (vessel) (vehicle); and
  • Fourth: That this event took place during the nighttime or daytime.

There are some obvious examples that all of us would define as a “breaking,” such as: breaking a window, or forcing open a door or window, or removing a plank from a wall. But there are some less obvious examples that also are considered to be “breakings.” Opening a closed door or window is a breaking, even if they are unlocked. Going in through an open window that is not intended for use as an entrance is also a breaking, but going in through an unobstructed entrance — such as an open door — is not. I have had some clients charged with this serious offense (a felony if alleged to have taken place at night) just for drunkenly walking into a building that they did not have permission to be inside.

Another interesting element of this crime is that the Commonwealth does not need to prove what specific felony (or misdemeanor) they allege you committed while breaking in. This lack of a need to prove a specific crime gives the district attorney great leeway in prosecuting this crime, a disadvantage for a defendant, therefore it is important to have a qualified and experienced lawyer on your side to defend you from this charge. Many judges are very harsh when it comes to setting bail and sentencing defendants in these cases, as they feel a strong pressure to “protect the community” by discouraging breaking and entering within their jurisdiction.

You can find more information about the penalties for a breaking and entering in the nighttime at:

Call Attorney Rakhlin for a FREE consultation regarding your upcoming breaking and entering case: (617) 564-0466