Los Angeles Burglary Attorney
Burglary charges are severe and tantamounts to at least one year in a county jail up to six years in California state prison. The restriction of your liability for something you did not do or intend to do is a serious matter that requires effective legal representation. A wrongful burglary conviction not only damages your integrity, but it may result in perpetual disqualification to privileges that you ought to receive if you were not found guilty of a felony you didn’t commit.
Regardless of whether it is a commercial burglary or residential burglary charge, you have to know how to defend yourself in court. Mere words cannot just prove your innocence or wrongful conviction, and it requires experience in handling cases of the same nature and knowledge of the latest provisions of law. These are the reasons why the constitution upholds your right to counsel in all cases.
At Hurwitz Law Group, we render legal services based on integrity, ethics, and compassion. We are a criminal defense law firm based in Los Angeles. Our criminal defense lawyers are equipped with the skills, experience, and knowledge of preparing pleadings and the pieces of evidence to defend the rights of persons who are wrongfully accused or convicted. We provide an attorney-client relationship based on the principles of legal ethics, and we prioritize the interests of our clients and their welfare.
CALIFORNIA’S BURGLARY LAWS
The California Penal Code section 459 or the California Burglary Law provides for the laws regarding burglary, its definition, and its penalties if found guilty. There are significant distinctions between burglary and other crimes, and these distinctions exist based on the circumstances of your burglary case. Burglary is not an all-encompassing crime. It is not the same for all acts of entering the premises of a commercial establishment or residential place with the specific intent of committing a crime.
Burglary charges may require strong evidence to warrant a burglary conviction. Once a Los Angeles county prosecutor established all the elements of a burglary crime. It could be hard for people wrongfully charged for deviating from their liability, whether they are guilty or not.
At Hurwitz Law Group, our team of criminal defense attorneys will guide you through the process of defending yourself and restoring your rights. Our extensive knowledge of the California Penal Code section 459 and our years of experience defending persons charged with burglary give us an edge in criminal defense representation. Learn more about California’s Burglary Laws by giving us a call.
LEGAL DEFINITION OF BURGLARY
California Penal Code section 459 provides for the legal definition of burglary. It is defined as the act of entering any residential or commercial premises with the “intent to commit grand or petit larceny or felony is guilty of burglary.” The definition of burglary in section 459 may be complex. This requires a better understanding of the other related provisions to understand the concept of a burglary charge fully.
A careful reading of the California Penal Code section 459 up to 464 will give you the other circumstances defined by law constituting the different degrees of burglary. We have further discussed the different types of burglary charges and burglary crimes below. For further questions and clarifications, you may contact us at Hurwitz Law Group for a free consultation and in-depth discussion of your case.
TYPES OF BURGLARY CRIME CHARGES
There are two types of burglary crime charges. A burglary charge can either be a first-degree or second-degree burglary.
A person commits first-degree burglary or residential burglary if such was done in the following places that are inhabited:
- Vessel designed for habitation such as a floating home;
- Trailer coach; or
- Any inhabited portion of a building.
Under the California penal code, a place is inhabited if meant for dwelling, regardless of whether it is currently occupied. First-degree burglary is charged as a felony.
The second degree of burglary is committed upon places used for commercial purposes and not for dwelling. Thus, if the house, vessel, trailer coach, or building is not meant for dwelling and used for commercial transactions, it is second-degree burglary, otherwise known as commercial burglary.
Commercial burglary is charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case.
TYPES OF BURGLARY CRIMES
The California Penal Code section 464 provides the felony charged on cracking a safe open. Safe Cracking is when a person enters a building and attempts or opens a vault, safe, or other secure places. The building may or may not have occupants or inhabitants at the time of entry, and the law does not provide any distinction as to when the safe Cracking was done.
However, the law specifically provides that such act of opening a safe, vault, or secure place should be done through the use of a device that burns or explodes.
Commercial Burglary and Petty Theft
Commercial burglary is when a person enters the premises of a building or any other place that is not meant for dwelling. Examples of these are warehouses, offices, shops, and restaurants, among many others.
The California Penal Code section 484 describes theft crime as when a person steals, takes, carries, leads, or drives away the personal property of another. The determination of whether such an act is merely petty or a grand theft depends on the value of the property stolen. Such value is determined based on the fair market value of the same properties.
Thus, when a person enters the premises of a commercial establishment with intent to commit a felony and steals, takes, carries, leads or drivers away personal property placed inside the commercial establishment, that is commercial burglary and petty theft.
Possession of Burglary Tools
California Penal Code section 466 provides that the mere possession of the following constitutes misdemeanor:
- key bit;
- vise grip pliers;
- water-pump pliers;
- slide hammer;
- slim jim;
- tension bar;
- lock pick gun;
- tubular lock pick;
- bump key;
- floor-safe door puller;
- master key;
- ceramic or porcelain spark plug chips or pieces;
- or other instrument or tool.
Such possession should be coupled with the intent to feloniously “break or enter into any building, railroad car, aircraft, or vessel, trailer coach, or vehicle” as specifically provided by Section 466.
LEGAL PENALTIES FOR COMMITTING BURGLARY IN LOS ANGELES
Section 461 of the California Law provides penalties for burglary in Los Angeles.
For First-degree burglary, the punishment is imprisonment in state prison from two up to as many as six years.
For Second-degree burglary, the penalty is imprisonment in the Los Angeles county jail for not more than one year.
The length of imprisonment can also be determined based on subdivision (h) of Section 1170, which provides for penalties for repeat offenders.
COMMON LEGAL DEFENSES AGAINST BURGLARY CHARGES
Being charged with burglary requires extensive effort in convincing the court or jury of your innocence. Fortunately, as part of a person’s constitutional rights, there is a presumption of innocence on the part of the accused. These are the available legal defenses for those charged with burglary:
- Innocence. A person charged with burglary can allege that there is reasonable doubt as to the pieces of evidence presented to prove his intent. Plaintiffs or those alleging the guilt have the burden of proving that the defendant indeed entered the premises with intent to commit a felony.
- Lack of intent. In a burglary charge, the person accused can allege that the owner or occupant gave the authority to enter the premises for lawful purposes. The accused can be an employee or an actual resident wrongfully charged.
- Entrapment. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can also be a defense. A person charged can allege that he was merely coerced to appear as an offender during an entrapment operation conducted by law enforcement.
WHY CHOOSE HURWITZ LAW GROUP FOR YOUR BURGLARY CHARGES
At Hurwitz Law Group, we prioritize the interests of our clients. We strive to obtain the best possible judgment for those wrongfully charged with burglary. Whether you are at the wrong place at the wrong time or a victim of coercion from the authorities, we will defend your rights.
Hurwitz Law is experienced in criminal defense cases, covering various criminal charges, including first or second-degree burglary.
LOS ANGELES BURGLARY FAQs
Can shoplifting be charged as commercial burglary?
Yes, when a person commits shoplifting, as long as they enter the premises of a commercial establishment with intent to commit a crime, the felony of burglary exists.
I am charged with burglary. What should I do?
It is best to consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for legal advice. A burglary lawyer will inform you of the specific provisions of law, direct you towards an effective action plan, and present pieces of evidence to prove your innocence.
Is burglary similar to breaking & entering?
The mere act of breaking and entering residential or commercial premises does not automatically mean there is burglary. There needs to be a specific intent to commit a felony, as provided by the California Penal Code.
Why should I hire a Los Angeles burglary lawyer?
A Los Angeles burglary lawyer is equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience of handling burglary cases. Such a lawyer knows the intricacies of the California Penal Code and will advance your interests in the court of law.
TALK TO A LOS ANGELES BURGLARY ATTORNEY TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
A Los Angeles Burglary attorney will help you in all the stages of the proceedings. From alleging your defenses, presenting pieces of evidence, and securing a favorable ruling, a Los Angeles burglary attorney will be there for you. Because of the severity of the penalties imposed on burglary charges, the experience and knowledge of criminal defense lawyers will be of great help.
Our lawyers at Hurwitz Law Group are always available to assist you. Call us now at (323) 287-9849 for a free consultation.