Breaking and Entering Law and Legal Definition

Breaking and entering is the crime of entering a residence or other enclosed property without authorization and some element of force. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. Without an intent to commit a crime, breaking and entering by itself usually carries a charge of the crime of trespass.

There are cases of minors committing breaking and entering in recreational pursuits, unaware of the legal consequences of their offense. In many states, a minor can be charged and subject to serious penalties, including institutionalization, under a state's juvenile offender laws covering offenses such as breaking and entering. This charge may also have a lasting affect on employment and other opportunities in adulthood.