When you’re hit with burglary charges, it’s normal to feel like your life has been thrown into chaos. Fear, uncertainty, and stress can consume your thoughts as you wonder how this will impact your future.

Listen, I get it. Facing burglary charges can be scary and overwhelming. But you don’t have to navigate this difficult time alone. As a seasoned burglary defense attorney, I’ve helped many people in similar situations. I’m ready to stand by your side, protect your rights, and fight relentlessly for your freedom.

The road ahead may be tough, but with the right legal team in your corner, you can come out the other side stronger than ever. So take a deep breath, and let’s tackle this together.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding the Difference Between Theft and Burglary

Theft and burglary – two crimes that often get lumped together, but are actually quite different. I’ve seen countless clients come through my doors at the law office, confused about the charges they’re facing. “But I didn’t steal anything.” they’ll say, when hit with a burglary charge. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to commit theft to be guilty of burglary. Crazy, right? Let’s break it down.

Definition of Theft

Theft generally involves taking someone else’s property without their consent, with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. This can include shoplifting, stealing a car, or embezzling funds from an employer. The key elements? Taking property that doesn’t belong to you, without permission, and with no plans to give it back. Classic theft.

Definition of Burglary

Burglary, on the other hand, involves entering a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, such as theft. The key element is the unauthorized entry, even if no theft actually occurs. You could break into a house planning to steal some jewelry, but get spooked and leave empty-handed. Guess what? Still burglary.

Key Differences Between Theft and Burglary

The primary difference between theft and burglary is that burglary requires unlawful entry into a structure, while theft does not. Burglary charges are often more serious, as they involve violating the sanctity of a home or business. Think of it this way: theft is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Burglary is entering somewhere you don’t belong, with criminal intent. Two distinct crimes, with their own sets of consequences. And trust me, you don’t want to face either without an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.

Common Defenses Against Burglary Charges

Facing burglary charges can be terrifying. The thought of prison time, a felony on your record, the stigma – it’s a lot to handle. But don’t lose hope. There are defense strategies that can help.

Lack of Intent

One common defense against burglary charges is arguing that the defendant lacked the necessary intent to commit a crime upon entry. If they can show they entered the building for a lawful purpose, the burglary charge may not stick. I once had a client who ducked into an open garage to get out of the rain. Cops found him and assumed he was there to steal. We were able to prove he had no criminal intent – case dismissed.

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, a skilled defense lawyer may be able to argue mistaken identity – that the defendant was not actually the person who committed the burglary. This often involves challenging eyewitness testimony or questionable identification procedures. Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable. A good attorney will pick them apart and sow the seeds of reasonable doubt.

Insufficient Evidence

Prosecutors must prove every element of a burglary charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A defense attorney will carefully examine all the evidence and argue that it is insufficient to support a conviction. This could involve challenging forensic evidence, witness credibility, or the chain of custody for physical evidence. If the prosecution’s case has holes, a savvy lawyer will exploit them.


In rare cases, a burglary defendant may be able to argue entrapment – that law enforcement induced them to commit a crime they otherwise would not have. However, this is a difficult defense that requires showing the police used coercive or overbearing tactics. It’s not enough for the police to simply provide an opportunity to commit a crime. They must go further and actively persuade or pressure the person into it.

Duress or Coercion

If the defendant committed the burglary under duress or coercion, such as threats of violence from another person, they may have a valid defense. The coercion must be of such a degree that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to commit the crime. Imagine someone holding a gun to your head and telling you to break into a house. That’s the level of duress we’re talking about here.

Consequences of a Burglary Conviction in California

Burglary convictions come with serious penalties in California. I’ve seen lives ruined, families torn apart, futures derailed – all because of a single criminal act. If you’re facing burglary charges, it’s crucial to understand what you’re up against.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Burglary

In California, burglary can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. First-degree burglary, which involves residential properties, is always a felony. Second-degree burglary may be a misdemeanor if the property involved was a commercial building. The difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge can be the difference between months and years behind bars.

Sentencing Guidelines

Sentencing for a burglary conviction in California varies based on the specific facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. First-degree residential burglary carries a potential sentence of 2-6 years in state prison. Second-degree commercial burglary is punishable by up to 3 years in jail. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fines, restitution, probation – the consequences can pile up fast.

Aggravating Factors

Certain aggravating factors can increase the penalties for burglary in California. These may include the use of a weapon, targeting an elderly or disabled victim, or having prior felony convictions. In some cases, burglary may even be charged as a violent felony or strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. I once represented a client facing his third strike for burglary. He was looking at 25 years to life. We fought tooth and nail and got it knocked down to a second strike, but it was still a harsh reminder of how serious these cases can be.

Impact on Criminal Record

A burglary conviction in California will result in a permanent criminal record, which can have far-reaching consequences. Felony convictions in particular can make it difficult to find employment, secure housing, or obtain professional licenses. In some cases, a skilled defense attorney may be able to negotiate for a plea to a lesser charge to minimize the long-term impact. I always tell my clients – your criminal record is like a tattoo. It’s with you forever, and it can close a lot of doors. That’s why it’s so important to fight these charges with everything you’ve got.

Hiring a Skilled Burglary Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you’re facing burglary charges in Los Angeles, you need a battle-tested criminal defense attorney in your corner. Someone who knows the law inside and out, who’s not afraid to go to trial, who will fight for your rights every step of the way. Look for a lawyer with a track record of success in theft and burglary cases. Read reviews, schedule consultations, ask tough questions. Your freedom is on the line – don’t settle for second best. At our law office, we offer free initial consultations for all criminal cases. We’ll sit down with you, hear your story, and give you an honest assessment of your case. No sugar-coating, no false promises – just straight talk and aggressive defense. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it takes to win a burglary case in Los Angeles. Tenacity, skill, and an unwavering commitment to justice. If you or a loved one is facing burglary charges, don’t wait. Call us today and let us start building your defense. The prosecution is already working against you – it’s time to level the playing field.

Key Takeaway: 

Theft and burglary might sound similar, but they’re different beasts. Theft is about taking stuff without permission; burglary’s about unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime inside. Facing either? You’ll want an experienced lawyer to tackle the nuances and fight for you.


Theft and burglary charges can be daunting, but remember – you have rights, and you have options. With an aggressive defense strategy and a team of experienced attorneys on your side, you can fight these charges head-on.

When you choose us, we dig deep to build the strongest case possible. We’ll challenge shaky evidence, negotiate fiercely with prosecutors to reduce your charges or find alternative sentencing options, and if your case goes to trial, we’ll be right there beside you, fighting tooth and nail for your freedom and your future.

Burglary accusations can turn your world upside down, but a top-notch defense attorney can help you find your footing again. Don’t let fear or uncertainty hold you back – reach out now and take the first step towards reclaiming your life.

Theft and Burglary Defense