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Los Angeles Burglary Attorney

If you need the services of a reliable Los Angeles burglary attorney, contact the Hurwitz Law Group today to schedule a consultation with our team. We’ll review the charges against you and investigate your case to find any evidence that supports your side of the story.

California state law defines burglary as the act of breaking into privately owned structures or containers to steal the contents. Sections 486 through 464 of Chapter 2 of the California Penal Code carefully outline the definitions pertaining to burglary, containers, and structures. It is essential for all Californians to understand these laws, so they know their rights as property owners. Anyone wrongfully accused of burglary needs to retain the services of a reliable Los Angeles burglary attorney as soon as possible.

Defining Burglary in California

Burglary is different than larceny because it involves entering a specific location with the intent of committing larceny. Burglary pertains to several types of properties, including:

  • Real estate, such as homes, apartments, shops, business facilities, and other privately-owned structures
  • Vessels and vehicles such as boats, aircraft, and automobiles
  • Any structures or vessels intended for habitation
  • Privately-owned cargo containers, such as coolers, cases, shipping containers, or any other container intended for the transportation of private property or valuables
  • Temporary structures, such as garden sheds, tents, trailers, and campers

Looting, or unlawfully entering business facilities during a local emergency such as a riot, a natural disaster, or a manmade disaster to steal commercial property or products intended for sale qualifies as burglary. This offense is punishable by up to one year in county jail, but some judges may sentence an offender to 180 days in jail and a probationary period, typically requiring up to 240 hours of community service during probation and other diversionary programs.

The value of the items stolen is an important aspect of burglary cases. Some incidents may qualify as shoplifting instead, which describes the act of entering a business establishment with the purpose of stealing items offered by the establishment during its regular business hours. If the value of the taken items does not exceed $950, the offender could receive a misdemeanor charge for shoplifting. However, prior misdemeanor convictions often lead to harsher penalties, including felony conviction.

Shoplifting more than $950 worth of items or entering any of the properties to commit larceny will lead to felony burglary charges. In California, burglary in the first degree is punishable by up to six years in a state prison. Burglary in the second degree will lead to sentence of up to one year in a county jail. The court may sentence an offender to probation under special circumstances, but the judge hearing the matter must provide compelling reason to suggest probation in lieu of the typical minimum sentences.

Entering a home, bank, business, government building, or any other inhabited or uninhabited structure with the intention of breaking into a safe, vault, lockbox, or other secure container using devices such as explosives, thermal lances, electric torches, gunpowder, or other similar tools commits felony burglary, which carries a minimum sentence of three to seven years in state prison.

Defending Against Burglary Charges

Anyone accused of burglary in California faces significant legal penalties unless they can prove the accusations are inaccurate or unjust. Mistaken identity, consensual entry onto a property, or claims to the stolen property in question can all lead to reduced or dismissed charges for a person accused of burglary. The right attorney can make a significant difference in burglary cases, such as helping a client plea down to misdemeanor charges or securing probation instead of imprisonment for first-time offenders.