Los Angeles Burglary Attorney Protects Your Rights
Let an experienced defense lawyer fight for your freedom
Certain crimes are punished swiftly by the criminal justice system in an effort to deter other would-be offenders. Burglary is one of these offenses. A common misconception is that burglary requires the breaking of a lock. However, burglary does not require forced entry — it involves illegal entry into a residence or other structure that does not belong to you.
If you are arrested for burglary, remain calm and cooperate with the police. After you are booked, request that you speak to an attorney. After reviewing your case, your lawyer might recommend a range of different strategies, including mistaken identity, whether you were authorized to enter the premises, you own the premises, or the location in question was intended for public use.
What are the penalties for burglary?
Make no mistake — burglary is a serious crime. It should not be confused with trespassing, theft, or robbery — these are three distinctly different crimes.
To be convicted of burglary in California, the prosecution must prove that you entered the home of another person, without their consent, and with the intention of committing some form of theft therein.
If you are arrested for burglary, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony based on the court’s discretion, your criminal history, the value of the stolen property, and whether anyone was injured during the commission of the crime.
In California, there are two types of burglary:
- First-degree — First-degree burglary involves illegal entry into a residence. It is always prosecuted as a felony in California and if convicted, you face up to six years in the state prison.
- Second-degree — Second-degree burglary is the illegal entry of any type of structure, including commercial businesses. Further, it is a “wobbler” offense — it may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction for second-degree burglary will result in a jail sentence of up to one year.
According to California Penal Code Section 459, if convicted of burglary, you could face the following penalties:
- Fines up to $10,000
- Two, four, or six years in a California state prison
- Felony probation
- One “strike” under California’s three strike law
It is important to remember that burglary is the crime of illegal entry with the intent to commit theft therein. However, it is a separate and different crime than petty theft or grand theft. This means that depending on the details of your case, you be charged with burglary and theft.
How to defend yourself against burglary charges
Typical defenses for burglary include having permission to enter the structure or lacking the intent to commit a crime.
Another tactic is to claim that you were trapped by law enforcement and coerced into entering the building.
Here is a list of common defense strategies used in burglary cases:
- Lack of intent — To be convicted of burglary, the prosecution must prove that you entered the structure of another illegally and with the intent to commit theft. If you can show the court that you had no intention of stealing anything, you might be able to have the charges against you reduced.
- No entry — Another tactic is to prove that you never crossed onto the property or residence. If you can prove you never entered the structure in question, the entire burglary case will fall apart.
- Claim of right — If someone gives you permission to enter a building, you may be able to argue that you believed you were still authorized to access the structure since they did not explicitly tell you when/if that access was revoked.
These are only a few of the most common defenses used in burglary cases. Truthfully, every case is different, and only after your attorney reviews the details of your situation will he or she be able to tailor an effective strategy for your case.
What is the difference between burglary and robbery?
The main difference between robbery and burglary is that robbery is a crime against a person whereas burglary is a crime against a structure or thing.
Robbery is the act of taking something from another person by using force or threats of force or fear. Burglary, on the other hand, is the crime of illegally entering the residence or structure of another, with the intent to commit a crime (theft) therein.
Because robbery is a crime against a person using force or fear of force, it is always a felony. A first-degree robbery conviction is punishable by up to 9 years in prison. If convicted of second-degree robbery, you face up to 5 years in prison. It is important to remember that robbery is a separate crime from burglary and thus depending on the details of your case, you may be charged with multiple offenses.
Burglary Attorney Serving Los Angeles & San Bernadino
If you or someone you love is charged with burglary, seek competent legal help immediately. At RP Defense Law, founding attorney Ruzanna Poghosyan has 14 years of experience defending clients accused of burglary, assault, and many other serious crimes in California. Whether you are charged with breaking and entering, theft, or burglary, Ruzanna is ready to take your case. Call (818) 646-3443 or contact the firm online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. For your convenience, I have office locations in Encino and Ontario, CA.