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
FIRST DEGREE BURGLARY IN CALIFORNIA
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 IN CALIFORNIA
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
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