Burglary Can Be Charged in Many Different Ways in California
Review of the Various Degrees of Burglary Charges in the State of California Under Penal Code 459 PC.
People always just think of one type of burglary. They don't realize that there's different degrees of burglary in Los Angeles, California that can be charged in many different ways.
This is one of the few crimes that actually has degrees. First degree burglary is usually a residential burglary. If someone breaks into a residence stealing stuff out of there, that's going to be first degree burglary.
It's a strike. It's a serious felony if nobody is home. If someone is actually home when you break in, it's a violent felony. It can even turn into a home invasion robbery. The bottom line is prosecutors and judges do not mess around with these first-degree burglaries.
First-Degree Burglary – PC 459
They're going to to be looking to send the person to prison. They're going to be looking at putting the person in a position where they have a conviction that they can never get off their record.
They're really looking to do some damage, because as you know, prosecutors and judges have homes too that get burglarized and they do not like people who break into the sanctity of somebody else's home.
So, that's a first-degree burglary. It's a strike pursuant to the California three strikes law. You're usually going to serve 80% of the time if nobody is home and it's a serious felony. You'll serve 85% of the time if somebody is home when they burglarize the location.
That's considered a violent felony, which is interesting because no violence is done, but it's so horrible to have somebody break into your house when your home. That makes it one of the worst felonies that you cannot get off your record in California.
Grand Theft – Penal Code 487
But, that's only the tip of the iceberg as burglaries go. If somebody goes into a supermarket or a department store like Macy*s and decides that before they go in, they're going to cut off the security tags and steal a bunch of stuff, that's a second-degree burglary.
The distinction between that a theft case — grand theft, Penal Code Section 487 if it's over $950.00; and penny theft if it's under $950.00.
In the scenario where it's some sort of theft case, in general, that's where the person just decides to steal once they get in there. But, if they can prove that you had the intent to steal when you entered the store, that triggers he burglary charge.
In my example, if you have a situation where somebody is actually carrying in a too to cut off the tags and does that, that's a pretty strong argument for the prosecutors. They intended to burglarize the location before they got in there.
So, there's propositions that help people who are being charged with these store burglaries or penny-theft-related offenses, as long as the dollar amount of what's being taken is small enough.
Then you might be able to avail yourself for one of these propositions and try to avoid a conviction, a mark on your record, attempt to get some sort of a diversionary program if you don't have a prior criminal record.
Home and Auto Burglary
So, another one we see all the time is an auto burglary — a car burglary. People are breaking into other people's cars and taking their stuff out — they'll hit you with a burglary for that. So, there's a much of different ways, you can see, to get these burglary charges.
It even goes deeper than that. I've had cases where people go into somebody's garage and it's an out garage — meaning, it's not attached to the house and they break in.
That's a burglary too, and that brings about all the bad strike situations. The person is looking at prison, a mark on their record for the rest of their life.
Defending Burglary Charges in Los Angeles
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a burglary charge, you've come to the right place because I know these charges inside and out. I know how to defend them. I know how to get rid of them, I know how to mitigate them, just depending on the circumstances of where you find yourself.
I've been doing this 26 years, worked for the prosecutors, worked for judges and I've been a criminal defense attorney since 1994, so you've definitely come to the right place.
Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.