What is Breaking and Entering (B&E)

A B&E (Breaking and Entering) does not necessarily require any breaking. The crutch of the offence is having purposely entered a place that you should not have entered, and having done so with the intent to commit any offence.

What defines a 'place'?

The Criminal Code of Canada defines a “place” broadly. The definition includes: dwellings- houses, buildings and structures, railcars and vessels and aircrafts and trailers, and animal pens or enclosures.

What is entering?

Entering happens when a person, or any part of a person, or any instrument controlled by a person, enters a place that they are not allowed to enter.

Conviction and Sentencing for 'B & E'.

Breaking and Entering into a dwelling-house (Home Invasion) is considered a very serious offence.  The court and legislation deem your home to be your sanctuary, where a person should feel safe and secure. The courts consider “home invasions” to be especially bad and will impose a more severe sentence if the accused knew that the home was occupied and used violence or threats of violence to gain entry. The charge is punishable up to life imprisonment.

Unlawfully in a Dwelling. 

Even in instances where the accused did not break into a dwelling-house, simply being inside the dwelling-house may still constitute a crime. An example of such an incident is when a person is invited into a home and then refuses to leave the home when the invitation is revoked by the home owner or lawful occupier. Unlawfully in a Dwelling is punishable up to 10 years in jail.

Possession of Break-in Instruments

Possessing instruments suitable for breaking into a place, vehicle, or a safe or vault, can be punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. It all depends on whether you have a reasonable excuse to possess the instruments.  Almost any tool or item (hammer, prybar, drill, etc), it just depends on if the court decides if it was being used to break-in somewhere.

Wearing a Disguise.

It is a crime to wear a disguise with intent of committing an offence. The charge is punishable up to 10 years imprisonment.

I’ve been charged with Breaking and Entering; what should I do?

You should keep your mouth shut. The police are experts at getting suspects to say incriminating things. If your mouth is shut, you will not be tricked into saying anything incriminating. You have a right to talk to a lawyer upon detention or arrest – do so!

Criminal Defence Lawyers

I know the law and I am passionate about upholding the constitutional rights of every client. I will go to court on your behalf, review the evidence, and prepare you for a trial or plea resolution. The “B&E” offences are fact specific, and it takes a trained legal mind to successfully refute the presumptions inherent in the “B&E” offences.     

You may qualify for Legal Aid:  See Legal Aid Ontario Information.

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