Rhode Island Breaking and Entering Defense Lawyers

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Breaking and Entering is a lesser included offense of the common law felony of burglary.  Breaking and Entering (B&E) is defined as the breaking and entering of a structure without permission of consent.  Breaking describes gaining access to a structure by force.  This may involve breaking and entering through a window, lifting up an unlocked window and entering inside, forcing a door open or ajar, opening and entering through an unlocked door without authority or permission, manipulating a locking mechanism, or unlocking a door with a key to which you have no authority or permission to possess.   Entering describes crossing over a threshold, whether of a window sill, doorway or otherwise, necessary to gain access to the inside of the structure.

Breaking and Entering may be committed on a variety of structures.  The common law offense related only to dwelling homes.  The crime has been extended by statute to now include a house, condominium, apartment, business, school, college, church or public land.  Unlike the more serious offense of burglary, Breaking and Entering does not require the intent to commit a felony once inside.  This crime of Breaking and Entering may also be committing any time during the day or night without distinction.  Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Breaking and Entering may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-8-2.

Legal Elements of Breaking and Entering

In order to be convicted of Breaking and Entering, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the did break
  2. and enter
  3. the property of another
  4. without consent of the lawful owner

Examples of Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering can be committed against a house, condominium, apartment, business, school, college, church, or public land.  Some examples of breaking and entering are as follows:

  • Reaching through a car window.
  • Lifting up an unlocked window and entering inside a structure.
  • Forcing a door or window open or ajar.
  • Opening and entering through an unlocked door without authority or permission.
  • Manipulating a lock or locking mechanism.
  • Unlocking a door with a key you have no authority or permission to possess or use.  

Potential Punishment if Convicted of Breaking and Entering in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island criminal law, a conviction for Breaking and Entering is a felony.   Convicted offenders shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 2 years and not more than 10 years. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-8-2.

Furthermore, if the defendant committed the Breaking and Entering in a business, public building or ship during the daytime, he or she shall be imprisoned not more than 3 years.  This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws § 11-8-5.1.

Lastly, if the defendant committed the Breaking and Entering of a dwelling house, apartment, or any other building at any time of the day or night with felonious intent to commit murder, sexual assault, robbery, arson or larceny, he or she shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years.  This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws § 11-8-3.


If you have been implicated in a breaking and entering offense and need expert legal representation, contact the Rhode Island Property Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.