Whether an alleged B&E was a mistake, a minor prank, or a premeditated crime, a Massachusetts breaking and entering charge can have serious consequences and penalties.

If you are charged with Breaking and Entering with intent to commit a misdemeanor, the penalties can be up to 6 months in prison.

If you are convicted of breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, the penalties can go up to $20 years in prison. If a firearm is used, there is a mandatory minimum or 5 years in prison.

What is the Difference between Breaking and Entering and Burglary?

B&E is often associated with a burglary offense, but they are not the same under Massachusetts law. The difference is that breaking and entering is the act of entering a building, and burglary is the act of stealing something, usually from a home or car.

Breaking and Entering Legal Defense

If you are charged with breaking and entering, you could be issued a citation to a clerk magistrate’s hearing, or you could be arrested, depending on the facts and whether or not the police claim to have witnessed the incident, and if it is a felony or misdemeanor.

How to Beat Your Clerk Magistrate's Hearing

How to Beat Your Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing

I wrote a book on winning cases at clerk magistrate’s hearing. In a case like this, my defense might be simply trying to get the criminal charge dismissed in exchange for restitution and paying for any damage. But it depends on the exact facts of your case.

Of course if the police have little to no evidence that you committed a crime, we can frequently get these cases simply dismissed on the spot for lack of evidence.

Whether you made a stupid mistake, or are the victim of a big misunderstanding and somehow got charged with breaking and entering, you need and deserve the best legal defense representation.

My  job as a criminal defense lawyer is to make sure you are treated fairly by the system, which often seems stacked against you. Let me tell you how I will fight for you and protect your interests, your freedom, and your future. Call me now for a consultation.

I am in different courts around Massachusetts every day, defending my clients rights and freedom on charges of breaking and entering and many other criminal charges. If you’ve been accused of breaking and entering, burglary, larceny or another criminal offense, and need a lawyer who will fight for your rights, call me today.

Massachusetts General Laws, reference:


Section 16 – Breaking and entering at night, (elements):

  • breaking into a building or vehicle with intent to commit a felony;
  • attempting to break or damage valuables in a building, with intent to commit larceny

Section 16A – Breaking and entering with intent to comit a misdemeanor

  • up to 7 months in prison, a $200 fine

Section 17 – Entering without breaking at night; breaking and entering in day time; weapons; punishment

  • in the nighttime enters without breaking, or breaks during day time with intent to comit a felony

Section 18 – Dwelling house; entry at night; breaking and entering in day time; weapons; punishment



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  • Russell J. Matson

    Founding Attorney

Please call us today for a free consultation on any criminal charge in Massachusetts. I will take the time to talk to you about your exact circumstances, what you can expect could happen to you, and how I can help protect and defend your legal rights and your freedom in court.