Burglary charges are very serious in California.
It is important to have an experienced burglary defense lawyer on your side during this process. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC in San Diego, we provide excellent representation to all our clients.
You deserve to have a defense lawyer who can build a strong defense based on the facts of the case.
If convicted of a felony, you will have many years of jail time and a criminal record for the rest of your life. A criminal defense attorney from our firm will work hard to free you from your charges.
Definition of Burglary Under California Law
Burglary is a crime against property under Section 459 of the California Penal Code. California law states that burglary is a situation where a person enters any house or other building with the intent to commit a felony or theft.
The law says that an “inhabited” structure does not mean that someone is home or that people are there at the time. An “inhabited” structure is used “for dwelling purposes” or is “designed for habitation.”
Elements of a Burglary Charge Under Section 459 of the California Penal Code
To convict a person of burglary, the prosecutor must be able to prove that:
- You entered the home, vehicle, structure, or other space identified in the statute and
- You intended to commit theft or a felony offense.
California law states that if you break into any building designed for habitation, you can be charged with intent to commit a crime. There are many ways that a prosecutor can prove that you intended to steal something from a property. A few examples are bringing tools to break into a safe or carrying a bag with you to hold stolen property.
To convict someone of burglary, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime on that property. Our burglary defense lawyers will prove that you did not have the intent to commit any crime.
First and Second-Degree Burglary in California
Burglary can be either a first or second-degree charge:
- First-degree burglary: Any burglary of a place of living
- Second-degree burglary: Burglary of any other building that is not a place of living, such as a store or warehouse.
Under California law, the offense of burglary is different from that of “shoplifting”. Shoplifting is when someone enters an open business with the intent to steal $950 of items or less.
Penalties for Burglary in San Diego, California
The penalties for a burglary charge are different for first-degree and second-degree burglary:
- First-degree burglary: Felony offense punished by up to six years of imprisonment;
- Second-degree burglary: If charged as a felony offense, the longest amount of jail time is three years. If charged as a misdemeanor offense, the longest term is one year in county jail.
First-degree burglary is always a felony. However, second-degree burglary is a “wobbler” in California. This means that the crime could be a misdemeanor or a felony based on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the defendant.
Building Your Defense Against California Burglary Charges with a Burglary Lawyer
You need an experienced burglary defense attorney if you get charged with burglary. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we have helped many people clear their names on a variety of cases. Here are some examples of possible defenses to burglary charges under California law:
- You are not the person who committed the offense and have been wrongly accused;
- You had permission to enter the property;
- You broke into the property but did not intend to take anything;
- You broke into the property but did not intend to commit a felony or steal something;
- You broke into the property but only took items that belonged to you;
- You believed the property you took belonged to you;
- The structure you entered did not fit into one of the categories in the statute; or
- Someone forced you to engage in the act of burglary.
If there is not a complete defense, your lawyer may be able to reduce the charges by proving that there were mitigating circumstances in your case.
Contact a San Diego Burglary Defense Attorney
Dozens of newspapers and news stations have featured our firm.
Mr. Armstrong and his team have over 21 years of experience building defenses, and they are eager to help you.
Our attorneys will discuss your case with you and go over options for building your defense.
Contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, APLC, for your defense today.