LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney David C. Newton | May 20, 2013

Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime to Commit a Felony in Massachusetts

Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime to Commit a Felony in Massachusetts

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 section 16 states “[w]hoever, in the night time, breaks and enters a building, ship, vessel or vehicle, with intent to commit a felony, …shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years." What this means for you is that for you to be found guilty of this charge the state’s prosecutor must prove that:

  1. You broke into a building, ship, vessel or vehicle,

  2. that you entered the building, ship, vessel or vehicle,

  3. that you did so with the intent to commit any felony, and

  4. that it took place at night.

If the prosecutor is able to prove all four of these elements of the crime then you can be subjected to a possible sentence of 2.5 years in jail if the case remains in the District Court. However, if the District Attorney’s Office chooses to indict the case through the Grand Jury, then the potential maximum sentence is 20 years in state prison.

The first requirement of proof that you “broke into a building, ship, vessel or vehicle" is fairly self explanatory; however the breaking only requires the most minimal of force. For example, pushing a door open that is already partially open would be enough.

The second requirement of proof that you “entered the building, ship, vessel or vehicle" again is fairly self explanatory; however the entering again only has to be minimal. For example simply reaching in is enough to satisfy the second requirement.

When speaking about the third requirement that “it is done with the intent to commit a felony" only requires that some felony be intended. Often the felony that is associated with a breaking and entering is a felony larceny; however any felony will suffice. Thus if the intended purpose of the breaking and entering is an Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon then the third requirement is met as well.

The final requirement is that is occurred at night. The night time requirement is a moving target, depending on the time of year. The prosecutor has several options to prove this element, most often just testimony that it was dark out or giving a time that is always night, like midnight. However, if the time of the offense is at the margins of when it would be considered night time the prosecutor may introduce evidence of when the sun set or rouse on that particular day.

If you are charged with the crime of Breaking and Entering at Night with the Intent to Commit a Felony then it is important to hire an experienced criminal attorney. Attorney Newton has handle many Breaking and Entering cases in his career and is here for you. Call today to obtain the experience that you need and deserve at 617-466-6068. David Newton, Esq.

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