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The act of using physical force to gain access to, and entering, a house with an intent to commit a felony inside.

In most states, housebreaking that occurs at night constitutes the crime of Burglary. Some statutes expand the definition of housebreaking to include breaking out of a house after entry has been achieved without the use of physical force, such as when access was gained under False Pretenses.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


in Scots criminal law, strictly speaking only an aggravation of theft and not a nominate crime. It consists in the surmounting of the security of a building or entering it in any unusual way and the ‘house’ part is satisfied if the building concerned has a roof Housebreaking without intent to steal is not a crime in Scots law although it is likely to constitute a criminal offence of being in a building without permission. See BURGLARY.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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