Burglary – California Penal Code Section 459
The Ins and Outs of Burglary Cases in Los Angeles
If you are facing burglary charges under California Penal Code Section 459, we understand the stress you are under and we can help you and take some of the burden of your shoulders.
Our criminal defense lawyers are well experienced and have a combined 75 years of experience. To be found guilty of the theft crime of burglary, the people must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered into a building with the intent to commit a theft within.
The actual theft does not have to be committed so long as the intent was present at the time of the entry.
Intent is a Key Element of a Burglary Case
The intent to exist at time of entry is a very important element the People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt; if not proven, the defendant can not be found guilty. Residential burglary applies to “inhabited” structures, which is currently used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.
A person can be charged with commercial burglary when they walk into a store with the specific intent to steal. Typically, commercial burglaries will be charged as misdemeanors when the value of the property taken is less than $400.00 (petty theft).
If the value is over $400.00 the burglaries will be charged as felonies (grand theft). Burglary of a motor vehicle is a type of burglary that occurs when someone enters an automobile for the purpose of stealing property.
First-Degree and Second-Degree Burglary
There’s so many things going on with these burglary cases. There’s a lot of play in criminal defense when it comes to burglary. Now, there’s a couple of different levels of burglary. There’s first-degree burglary where you’re breaking into somebody’s home, and then there’s second-degree burglary where you’re breaking into a business or other location that’s not somebody’s home.
Obviously, the prosecutors and judges are going to punish people who break into people’s homes much more severely than they will of someone who is breaking into a business when nobody’s there — taking goods from a business.
Another big issue that comes up in these burglary cases has to do with someone being present in the home when somebody breaks in. That will make it a violent felony and the person will be looking to serving 85% of whatever time they’re serving.
So, the prosecutors obviously see the issues with the burglary when somebody’s home because that’s how people end up getting shot. People end up using violence against other people. It’s just an overall dangerous situation.
So, if you have a burglary with a person present, you’re going to need the best Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent you because they’re going to come at you with everything they have.
These are some of the most serious crimes that are prosecuted in Los Angeles county and these burglaries are violent felony strikes that will stay on your record for your entire life and you will be definitely looking at state prison if you get convicted of a burglary with a person present.
Burglary is a Straight Felony Case
Even a regular home burglary — what they call a residential burglary — also is a strike. You’ll be looking at serving typically 80% of any sentence for that. That stays on your record. It’s a straight felony and it’s one of the strikes that’s a serious felony as far as the three-strikes law goes in California.
Some issues that come up in burglary cases are, sometimes somebody will go to burglarize somebody’s home for example, they’ll try to start to break in and then all of a sudden, they realize somebody’s home and then they run away. So, then the question becomes, is that a burglary?
And here’s where the standard is for that, and that is, the burglary is the breaking and entering the dwelling house of another with the intent to commit a felony therein. So, that particular example that I gave you has to do with whether or not somebody broke in.
So, if you break the plain of the house — you break a window. You put some sort of a tool inside.
That’s going to be sufficient for purposes of breaking and if they can show that you had intent to go in there and commit a burglary, steal things, commit a felony — even commit some other crime like rape or some other more serious crime, they can get you for a residential burglary even though your body doesn’t completely go inside the house. So, that’s definitely one of the issues that comes up in a burglary case.
Also, when you break in you have to have the intent to steal. You can’t gain the intent after somebody lets you in or gives you permission. That wouldn’t be sufficient for a burglary. If you stole under that circumstance it would probably be what’s referred to as a grand theft.
Defenses to Burglary Charges
So, defenses to burglaries are obviously permission. Someone gave you permission to go into a location. You go in and then you can say, I didn’t break in against the person’s will. They gave me permission. I didn’t have any intent to steal and therefore, you can’t get me for a burglary.
A lot of times we see this coming up when someone has permission but then that permission is taken away, like a boyfriend or a husband who’s no longer allowed in the home. Maybe there’s a divorce going on, a separation or a break-up and now that person comes back in and they don’t really have permission anymore.
That starts to get a little bit dicey trying to figure out whether that’s a burglary for purposes of a residential burglary and those are very serious cases.
I’ve even seen burglaries prosecuted where somebody’s renting out a back house to somebody else and then the landlord is sneaking in stealing the person’s money. That’s gonna be a burglary too, because once you rent the house out — even though it’s your house technically — you now lose the ability to go in there.
You don’t have permission. You’re now burglarizing that person’s house because you’re breaking in there and you’re taking things. You’re committing a serious crime.
So, if you’ve got one of these burglary cases pending in LA county, pick up the phone. Let’s talk. I’ve been doing this twenty-five years. I’ve handled hundreds of burglary cases all over LA county. I know the Los Angeles courthouses and I know how to handle a burglary case to a successful resolution and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.
If you or someone you know is being charged contact a skilled and experienced Los Angeles burglary attorney to argue and fight your case for you. Our law firm has the qualifications and skills to fight on your behalf.
Call For A Free Strategy Session