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Parting or dividing by force and violence a solid substance, or piercing, penetrating, or bursting through the same.

In cases of burglary and house-breaking, the removal of any part of the house or of the fastenings provided to secure it with violence and a felonious intent, is called a breaking.

The breaking is actual as in the above case; or constructive as when the burglar or house-breaker gains an entry by fraud, conspiracy or threats. In England it has been decided that if the sash of a window be partly open, but not sufficiently so to admit a person, the raising of it so as to admit a person is not a breaking of the house. No reasons are assigned. It is difficult to conceive, if this case be law, what further opening will amount to a breaking.


The act of forcibly removing the fastenings of a house, so that a person may enter.

It is a maxim that every man's house is his castle, and it is protected from every unlawful invasion. An officer having a lawful process of a criminal nature authorizing him to do so, may break an outer door, if upon making a demand of admittance it is refused. The house may also be broken open for the purpose of executing a writ of habere facias possessionem.

The house protects the owner from the service of all civil process in the first instance, but not if once lawfully arrested he takes refuge in his own house; in that case the officer may pursue him and break open any door for the Purpose.