If you have been charged with burglary in the state of California, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney at Don Ho Law to ensure you have a comprehensive defense. A burglary conviction in California can come with stiff penalties ranging from up to a year in county jail to up to six years in state prison.
The attorneys at Don Ho Law understand the elements of the crime of burglary, and are prepared to provide the aggressive representation you need.
Burglary: California Penal Code §§458-464
To prove a charge of burglary, the prosecution will have to show:
- that the defendant entered a specified property, such as a building or other specified structure or enclosure,
- with the intent to commit a crime upon entering the premises.
While burglary is often referred to as “breaking and entering,” it is not required – other than in the case of burglary of an automobile – that entry be forced. In fact, California law considers entry for the purposes of burglary to be when any part of the defendant’s body, or any object under the defendant’s control, crosses the threshold of the property.
For a charge of first degree burglary, the property must be an inhabited dwelling or the inhabited portion of any other building or structure. A charge of first degree burglary is a felony, and is thus more serious than a charge of second degree burglary, which is a misdemeanor. If convicted of first degree burglary, you could face imprisonment in state prison for up to six years. A first degree burglary conviction can also count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. Any burglary that does not fit the definition of first degree burglary will be prosecuted as second degree burglary, which is punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Depending on your criminal history and the circumstances of your case, the court can sometimes be persuaded to grant a defendant’s request for probation. It is important to have a skilled attorney at your side to argue zealously on your behalf.
Orange County Criminal Defense for Burglary Charges
Don Ho knows that a burglary charge can be difficult for prosecutors to prove, and that there is plenty of room for a passionate defense by a skilled burglary lawyer. The most difficult element for prosecutors to prove is the defendant’s intent to commit a crime upon entering the structure in question. The prosecution must be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” what the defendant was thinking at the time he or she entered the location. If no crime was committed, it is difficult to prove there was intent to commit a crime. If it is shown that the intent to commit a crime arose after entering the structure, it will also be difficult for the prosecution to prove the elements of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt.
Other defenses to pursue could include:
- A mistaken understanding of who owned the property
- Permission or consent was given by the owner or occupant of the property
- Police misconduct
- Intoxication, or another reason the defendant did not have intent to commit a crime upon entering the property
- Factual innocence
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