If you’ve been charged with burglary, we want to help you. Our burglary defense attorneys have extensive experience assisting those charged with these offenses, and have a long history of successful case outcomes. If you’re in need, call (888) 250-2865 for a free consultation to help alleviate your fears and determine what options are available.
The television image of a burglar involves a man or woman climbing a drainpipe, forcing open a window, and emptying jewelry boxes into a pillowcase. That is one way a burglary can be committed, but California law describes a number of different acts that constitute burglary.
Most burglaries involve the entry into someone else’s house, apartment, room, store, building, or other structure (such as a garage or mobile home) with the intent to commit a felony or a theft. While theft is the crime that people charged with burglary usually plan to commit, the intent to commit any felony transforms a trespass into a burglary. For example, entering a home with the intent to commit a sexual assault would be a burglary even if the home turns out to be empty and no other crime is committed.
If you have been arrested for burglary or charged with a violation of section 459 of the California Penal Code, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you present a defense. Whether you have been falsely accused or need the court to understand the mitigating circumstances that justify leniency, Randy Collins will provide a defense that is tailored to your needs. Call The Law Office of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865 to discuss the facts of your case with an Orange County burglary lawyer.
Penalties for first degree burglary and second degree burglary
Judges and prosecutors in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and elsewhere in California view burglary as a serious crime. Just how serious it is depends upon the nature of the place that was burglarized.
A first degree burglary is the burglary of an inhabited house, apartment, hotel room, houseboat, or any other building or structure that is used as a dwelling. “Inhabited” means someone is using the place as a permanent or temporary dwelling even if the building or room is not occupied when the entry takes place.
A first degree burglary (sometimes called a residential burglary) is a felony. If the court decides to impose a prison sentence, California law instructs the judge to choose a two, four, or six year sentence. In most cases, the judge is not required to impose a prison sentence, although California’s burglary law discourages probation as a sentencing alternative for a first degree burglary. Probation is nevertheless available in appropriate cases.
A second degree burglary is any burglary that is not included within the definition of first degree burglary. Many second degree burglaries are commercial burglaries.
California law distinguishes shoplifting from a commercial burglary. Shoplifting is the correct charge if someone enters a business during its normal business hours with the intent to steal property that has a value of $950 or less. Entering a store to commit a theft while the store is closed or entering with the intent to steal property worth more than $950 are examples of a commercial burglary.
Entering a car or other vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony is also a second degree burglary, but only if the vehicle is locked. Burglaries of homes, stores, rooms, or other buildings can occur even if the premises are not locked. Except for vehicles, “breaking and entering” is no different from walking through an unlocked door.
A second degree burglary is a wobbler. That means a prosecutor can charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The crime is always a felony, however, if it involves an attempt to break into a safe by using explosives or an acetylene torch.
How our burglary attorneys can help you
Innocent people are often accused of burglary. A stray fingerprint might be mistaken for “evidence” of a crime despite your innocent presence in the property prior to the burglary. Mistaken identity is frequently a defense to burglary.
Some people enter property with the incorrect belief that they have permission to enter the home. Some people mistake another person’s property for their own. Since those entries are made with no intent to commit a crime inside the premises, you have a defense to the charge in those situations.
You have the right to present a defense to criminal accusations. To mount a vigorous defense, you need an accomplished criminal defense attorney. Randy Collins has been recognized as an “OC Metro Top Attorney.” He defends clients accused of burglary in Orange County and across Southern California. You can count on Randy Collins to leave no stone unturned as he investigates the facts, raises legal challenges to the prosecution, and designs a persuasive defense that meets your needs.