If you are being investigated for burglary charges, then the first and most critical step is to contact an experienced burglary attorney. As a former prosecutor and current Manhattan Beach burglary defense attorney, I bring my expertise to fight for your rights from the moment I am hired. A burglary charge in California can range in possible punishment from a life sentence in prison to a misdemeanor with no jail time. We have the experience from our years in Los Angeles and Orange County prosecutor’s offices and the skills needed to negotiate the best possible settlement or to fight the burglary charges at trial. Below, we have provided greater detail into how these charges can be committed. One of the most important distinctions in California is between first and second degree burglary.


In California, first degree burglary is often also referred to as “residential burglary” and will typically involve the claim that a defendant has entered an “inhabited building or dwelling” with the specific intent to commit larceny or commit any felony. An inhabited building or dwelling is considered to be a structure where people reside such as a house or apartment building. Below are a few examples where a person may be charged with residential burglary in California:

·         A Hermosa Beach defendant is accused of opening a window to a neighbor’s house and reaching inside and taking a cell phone and then fleeing the area. The defendant is likely to be charged with residential burglary because he entered the apartment when he reached through the window.

·         A Los Angeles defendant is accused of entering an underground parking lot to an apartment building and stealing items from residents’ vehicles. The defendant is likely to be charged with residential burglary because the parking garage is part of an “inhabited building”

·         A Long Beach defendant is accused of removing a window screen ang beginning to climb inside of a house before fleeing the area because of an alarm going off. The defendant is likely to be charged with attempted residential burglary because nothing was successfully stolen but the defendant entered the house with the intent to commit larceny.

Each of the above scenarios, including the attempted first degree residential burglary are “strikes” in California. Strikes are offenses that will result in enhanced punishments on any future crimes, including the possibility of a life sentence in prison. Additional allegations or enhancements may also be charged if a person was present in the residence when the burglary took place or if the crime was committed in relation to gang activity. We have the experience and skill to fight these serious charges at every step of the way. Contact us immediately to learn more about our commitment to our clients.


Second degree burglary charges in California are often “wobblers”. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony charge carries the possibility of years in prison while a misdemeanor charge can result in up to one year in the county jail for each count. Second degree burglary is often called “commercial burglary” although there is not a requirement that it take place at a business. Second degree burglary in California typically requires an individual to enter a building or locked vehicle, with the intent to steal property belonging to another and with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of that property. Below are a few examples where second degree burglary is likely to be charged.

·         A defendant in Venice Beach is accused of entering a clothing store and then stealing several items of clothing. Because the store is not a residence, he is likely to be charged with second degree burglary.

·         A defendant in Torrance is accused of breaking into a locked vehicle and stealing a computer out of the back seat.

·         A defendant in Gardena is accused of entering a bank with a fraudulent check and attempting to cash it at the teller. Because they entered the building with the intent to commit larceny, they are likely to be charged with second degree burglary among other charges.

Depending on the defendant’s record, a burglary charge may be able to be reduced to a petty theft charge or a shoplifting charge. We have experience with hundreds of cases where second degree burglary was charged in Los Angeles and Orange County. Do not settle for anything less than the best when your future and freedom are at stake. Please contact us today and schedule a meeting at our Manhattan Beach office or at another location across Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Contact us now to begin the fight for your future!

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