When it comes to theft-related offenses, the defense depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime. If you've got someone else's property, you have to be able to explain why you have that property. If you are taking things from the store and putting them into your purse, you are going to have to explain why you would do that.
A lot of people claim that they did it by mistake. In that case, you are going to have to assess whether a jury would believe that you might have taken that property by mistake. If there is no believable defense, you will have to rely on your defense attorney to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor.
Can I Avoid A Conviction For A Los Angeles Theft Charge?
The Neighborhood Justice Program is something that gives certain offenders an opportunity to be able to avoid having a conviction on their record, not have to go to jail, and not have to suffer the consequences and the stigma that go along with a theft-related offense.
If you've got no record and you didn't take more than $400 of property, you have a good chance to get into the Neighborhood Justice Program and get some education on what happens to people who steal and how devastating it can be to your record.
The court system has gotten much more reasonable and less harsh in recent years. It's important to get an attorney who is local to the court where your case is pending, who can get you a result that you can move forward with.
Difference Between Burglary And Breaking & Entering
There are two degrees of burglary. One of them is taking something from a commercial property or a car. The other is breaking into a residence. Someone's home is their castle; judges and prosecutors don't like people going into other people's homes. Breaking and entering is one of the elements of burglary. The other element is you have to intend to commit a felony.
One issue that comes up with breaking and entering is that we see people sticking tools inside the property, breaking a window and setting alarms off, and then running away. Is that a burglary? The answer is yes.
If you went in there with a tool, broke a window, cracked a door, or put anything inside the house with the intent to steal property, that's enough for a breaking and entering and will trigger a burglary.
There is no such crime as breaking and entering in Los Angeles. The crime is burglary and one of the elements of the burglary that has to be proven by the prosecution at a jury trial is that you broke and entered into someone's home.
Difference Between California First Degree And Second Degree Burglary
First-degree burglary involves going into someone's home and is divided into two segments. One is going into someone's home when there is a person present there. That is considered a violent felony. It is a strike and likely a prison sentence.
The other type of first-degree burglary is just a regular home burglary where someone breaks into someone's home, steals their property, and leaves. That person is either caught in the act, right after or many months later. It doesn't really matter, as long as they can prove the case, it's a first-degree burglary. That is also a strike and it is considered a serious felony.
There is a presumption in Los Angeles County related to these types of burglaries that you are going to go to prison unless your defense lawyer can show unusual circumstances.
A second-degree burglary is breaking into a car or a retail business. Going into Macy's with the intent to steal and then taking something would be a burglary case. How do you know if they had the intent to steal? They are going to look at the circumstances of the case. If you go in with a pair of bolt cutters and you start cutting the security tags off clothes, you clearly had the intent to steal.
For more information on Defenses To Theft Related Charges In LA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.