Burglary, under California's Penal Code Section 459, is defined as the act of entering a building (or vessel, vehicle, or cargo container) with the intent of stealing or taking someone else's property or committing an additional felony. Usually charged as a felony offense, burglary will leave the convicted individual facing imprisonment along with a permanent criminal record. This offense is also considered a "Strike" in California. At The Justice Firm, we are committed to protecting clients accused of burglary from a conviction as well as the criminal penalties that will result if found guilty.
Our Los Angeles burglary defense attorneys understand that being arrested or charged with burglary can potentially change an individual's life - and not for the better. In order to secure the best possible outcome, it is critical you obtain the services of a lawyer who is skilled, experienced, and dedicated to giving your case the intense focus you deserve.California Burglary Law
Frequently referred to as residential burglary, first-degree burglary involves the entering of a home, trailer, warehouse, attached garage, aircraft, floating home, or portion of a structure which is inhabited. In order to be charged with first-degree burglary, the theft of property does not have to be committed. Prosecutors only have to prove that an individual unlawfully entered the structure with the intent to commit theft.
Second-degree burglary involves entering a business or automobile with the intent to commit theft. While generally charged as misdemeanor crimes, second-degree (or auto/commercial burglary) may be charged as a felony in some cases.Los Angeles Burglary Penalties
What penalties an individual faces when convicted of burglary may depend on factors including whether the individual has a prior criminal record. Penalties are as follows:
- First-degree or Residential Burglary - Two, four, or six years in the state prison, fines of up to $10,000, or both. It is important to note that first-degree burglary is a "strike" in California. Additionally, regardless of whether a convicted individual is considered to demonstrate good behavior, he/she must serve 85% of the sentence.
- Second-degree or Commercial Burglary - If convicted of misdemeanor commercial burglary, sentencing includes a maximum of one year in county jail, fines of up to $1,000, or both. Sentencing for felony commercial burglary includes prison time of 16 months, two or three years, fines of up to $10,000, or both.
As skilled Los Angeles burglary lawyers, we have successfully used a variety of defense strategies to defend clients charged with burglary:
- A person can only be convicted of burglary if the prosecutor can prove intent to steal, a difficult task when theft or a felony offense was not actually committed.
- If your attorney can prove that at some point in the past you had a legitimate reason to be on the property/premises, any fingerprints found at the scene of the alleged crime may be attributed to a previous visit.
- With a strong alibi, mistaken identity may be a viable defense. Residential or commercial surveillance videos are effective in supporting the defendant's alibi.
Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are human, which means mistakes can be made. Your defense attorney will carefully analyze your case to uncover any mistakes or weaknesses in the prosecutor's case which may be beneficial to your defense.
The Justice Firm is a Los Angeles burglary defense firm dedicated to securing outstanding results for each client we represent. Until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you are innocent; we will work diligently to protect that innocence. Call us immediately for a free consultation if you have been accused of, arrested, or charged with burglary at 310-914-2444.
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