What is Break And Enter?

There are various offences of this kind in the Crimes Act 1900. Break, enter and commit a serious indictable offence,’ under s 112 of the Crimes Act, which covers the offence of ‘break, enter and steal is the most common charge.

  • Under s 113 of the Crimes Act, there is a separate offence of ‘break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence.’ This means that you can still get into trouble where you don’t commit a serious indictable offence – for example, where the homeowner catches you before you steal anything.
  • You can also be charged under s 114 of the Crimes Act where you are caught upon enclosed lands armed with a weapon, instrument, housebreaking instrument, or disguises.
  • You can also face harsher penalties where you’ve previously been convicted of an indictable offence and you are found armed with a weapon, with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence.

There are a host of things that “aggravate” the offence. That is, make the penalties harsher. If you have a weapon, if you tie somebody up, if there is more than one person involved, or if you knew that somebody was inside the dwelling when you entered these are aggravating features.

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What The Prosecution Must Prove

  1. That you broke into a property without the owner’s permission. Breaking in can be as simple as opening a closed door or entering using a key without the owner’s permission.
  2. That you committed a serious indictable offence which is one that has a maximum penalty of at least five years in prison. Larceny is an indictable offence as it has a five- year penalty. This is stealing, basically.


Depending on what you are charged with, jail time runs as high as 25 years.


  • Where someone coerced or threatened you into committing the break and enter (duress)
  • Where you committed the break and enter to prevent serious injury or death to another person (necessity).
  • Where the owner of the property gave you permission to break and enter