News outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, KCAL and KFI regularly report on major burglaries that happen throughout the city of Los Angeles. In an area where there are rich and poor, where the rich often flaunt their wealth and where there are so many people (and opportunities) burglary is a major crime. Unfortunately, for those arrested for, investigated for and charged with this crime, the penalties are severe and can bring life altering consequences.
There are two types of burglary (Penal Code sections 459 and 460): First Degree and Second Degree. First Degree burglary, commonly known as Residential Burglary, is a felony offense. To be convicted of first degree burglary, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered a building (or trailer coach) used for habitation (whether or not people were present at the time) with the specific intent to commit a crime. If convicted of first degree burglary, you can be sentenced for two, four, or six years in State prison.
Second Degree burglary, commonly known as Commercial Burglary, can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor offense. To be convicted of second degree burglary, the prosecution must prove that you entered a building or locked vehicle with the specific intent to commit a crime. Entering a store with the intention to steal something is commercial burglary. But, for example, if you enter a store intending to buy something, but while in the store make the decision to steal instead, that is usually not a burglary because you did not enter the store with the intention to commit a crime.
If convicted of second degree burglary as a felony, you can be sentenced to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in State prison. If convicted of second degree burglary as a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced up to one year in County jail.
The key component to a burglary charge is the intent of the person who entered a home, business, or other structure. If their intent was to steal or commit a felony offense when they actually entered, then the crime of burglary has occurred. It is not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that a theft or felony offense actually happened. They only have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was intended when they made entry. Proving intent can sometimes be difficult if the theft was not actually committed. If the prosecutor is unable to prove intent, then a qualified criminal defense lawyer has a much better chance to clear your name.
Since a burglary conviction depends not only on “what happened” but also what intention you had before the alleged crime occurred (what is known as a “specific intent” crime), it is important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible to prepare your defense.
At Premier Federal Criminal Defenders, our criminal defense team has years of experience defending anyone accused of first and second degree burglaries. Our law firm is very familiar with the laws and criminal procedures surrounding burglary laws. We will aggressively challenge the evidence against you to obtain the best possible result. Our first goal id to obtain a “not-guilty” verdict. However, if guilt is not in doubt, we care skilled courtroom negotiators and can seek to have the charges reduced to a lesser crime. For many years, our criminal defense firm has represented people charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes, and successfully represented people charged with serious burglary crimes.
For anyone charged with burglary, you should contact our law firm immediately to get a free consultation.
CONTACT David Elden & Victor Sherman For a Free Consultation: 1-800-455-6200 or send message