Break & Enter Offences

Have you been charged with the criminal law offence of break and enter? It's important to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Learn more about this offence below.

S.421 Entering Or Being In Premises And Committing Indictable Offences (Criminal Code Queensland)

(1) Any person who enters or is in any premises with intent to commit an indictable offence in the premises commits a crime. Maximum penalty—10 years imprisonment.

(2) Any person who enters or is in any premises and commits an indictable offence in the premises commits a crime.  Maximum penalty—14 years imprisonment.

(3) If the offender gains entry to the premises by any break and commits an indictable offence in the premises, he or she is liable to imprisonment for life. 

In Queensland, Break and Enter offences can relate to any type of building or structure including a tent, caravan or vehicle. There are three types of break and enter offences;

  1. Enter or be in any premises with the intention of committing a crime;
  2. Enter or be in any premises and commit a crime in the premises;
  3. Gain entry to premises by any break and commit a crime in the premises.

Enter Premises with Intent

This is the least serious of the three above offences. A person can be charged with this offence when they have entered premises for the purpose of committing a crime. You don’t have to actually commit a crime after entering the building or structure, you may be charged if you have entered with the intention to commit a crime. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Enter Premises and Commit an Indictable Offence

This is a more serious charge. A person could be charged with this offence if they enter the premises and while they are there, they commit another crime (i.e. Assault, Stealing, Wilful Damage). The maximum penalty if you are convicted this charge is 14 years’ imprisonment.

Break, Enter and Commit an Indictable Offence

This is the most serious break and enter charge; the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. You can be charged with this offence when you have broken into a building or structure and committed a crime inside. ‘Breaking in’ includes breaking any part, whether internal or external, of the premises or opening (by unlocking, pulling or pushing) any door, window or other thing intended to close or cover an opening in the premises.

Break and Enter offences are indictable offences but can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. Generally speaking, the seriousness of the offence and the existence of other charges connected to the Break and Enter offence will determine the Court in which the matter is to be heard.

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of a Break and Enter offence, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Imprisonment (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Recognisance;

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Are there any defences available to this charge?

Yes. The following defences may be available to you:

  • Duress;
  • Necessity;
  • Intoxication;
  • Honest claim of right to be in the property;
  • Seal of the property was not broken;
  • Person did not enter the property;
  • Person was given consent to enter the property.

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a break and enter allegation or if I have been charged with a break and enter offence?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide the police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence such as break and enter, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court.

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

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