Burglary typically involves the unlawful entry into a residential or commercial structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, including but not limited to theft or larceny.
What is a Burglary Charge?
Under California Penal Code 459 P.C., you can be prosecuted for Burglary if you allegedly entered a structure (including a boat, airplane or vehicle) with the intention of committing either a theft or a felony therein. If theft is involved, the money or value of the property at issue must be more than nine hundred and fifty dollars ($950.00) to justify a Burglary charge. (If you allegedly stole $950 or less from a commercial structure, you will likely be charged with Shoplifting.)
The prosecutor does not need to prove that you actually committed theft or a felony in the structure, but only that you had the specific intent to do so. You can be charged with Burglary even if the structure was open and unlocked, or if only a part of your body entered the structure (for example, you reached into the structure through a window to steal something).
There are different degrees of Burglary, depending on the structure entered, as well as other circumstances. If you allegedly broke into a residence or non-residential building (such as an office building or department store), then you will be charged with Residential Burglary (first-degree burglary) or Commercial Burglary (second-degree burglary), respectively. If you allegedly broke into someone’s locked vehicle, then you will be charged with Automobile Burglary.
Under certain conditions (namely, Residential Burglary where the occupant/tenant/owner is present at the time of the alleged crime), you could even be charged with a strike (a violent felony) under California’s “Three Strikes law” (California Penal Code 667 P.C.), even if no injury occurred.
All non-strike burglary crimes can be charged as a “wobbler” offense, meaning that the prosecutor can charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and your criminal record.
What are Examples of Burglary?
Examples of situations involving Burglary include the following:
What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove for a Burglary Charge?
To prove that you are guilty of Burglary under California Penal Code 459 P.C., the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements (as required by the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions CALCRIM 1700):
What Happens If I am Convicted of a Burglary Charge?
If you are convicted of Burglary under California Penal Code 459 P.C., you face the following punishment (excluding any sentencing enhancements):
What are My Possible Defenses to a Burglary Charge?
Burglary cases can often be resolved during the investigation stage even before criminal charges are actually filed. Specifically, a highly experienced and skilled Los Angeles County Burglary attorney like Ninaz Saffari might be able to convince the investigating detective to not refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, or to convince the D.A.’s Office not to file charges if the case has already been referred. These are called Pre-Files, which Ms. Saffari has a great deal of experience in successfully negotiating. See her Case Results.
If you are charged with Burglary, Ms. Saffari will first conduct a thorough investigation, often with the help of her private investigator, to ascertain all relevant facts. Again, if possible, she will attempt to get the charges dismissed either before or shortly after they are filed. If she takes the case to trial, she will often use an expert witness who will argue that the alleged harm never occurred, did not occur to the degree claimed, occurred but was the result of an accident or unintentional conduct, or that the District Attorney has otherwise failed to provide enough evidence to meet the high threshold to prove Burglary.
The following are the possible defenses to a Burglary charge:
What Kind of Burglary Charges Has Ninaz Saffari Defended?
Since 2005, Ninaz Saffari has successfully represented hundreds of clients (adults and juveniles) against Burglary charges, including both as felonies and misdemeanors. Many of her successfully defended clients faced many years in prison, as well as strike charges. See her Case Results.--
If you or a loved one are currently being investigated or prosecuted for this crime, it is critical that you immediately hire a highly skilled, aggressive and experienced Los Angeles County Burglary criminal defense attorney like Ninaz Saffari. Contact the Saffari Law Firm, P.C. now for a free telephone consultation. If Ms. Saffari believes she can help you, she will immediately schedule a free in-person meeting or, if you are in custody, she will visit you in jail (again, for free and with no obligation to hire her).
Representing All Of Los Angeles County including:
Downtown Criminal Courts Building
Van Nuys Courthouse
San Fernando Courthouse
Long Beach Courthouse