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Los Angeles Residential/Burglary Defense Lawyers

We Help Individuals Accused of Burglary Protect their Rights

If you have been accused of burglary in the state of California, it’s critical that you retain qualified legal counsel right away. Under state law, Burglary can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying degrees of consequences and penalties. If you or someone you know is charged with burglary, it is crucial that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, call us today at 800-755-5174.

Burglary Overview

Burglary is defined as the act of entering a building or other structure with the intent to commit a theft or other felony. A range of factors determines the specifics of the burglary charge. These factors largely depend on the actions of the person who is facing such charges. A few examples of a situation that may give rise to a burglary charge are:

  • Opening the window of another person's home and reaching in to remove their property
  • Entering through the doorway of a home with the intent to remove property
  • Entering a department store with the intent to steal clothing or other items
  • Entering another person's garage without consent to remove lawn equipment
  • Unlocking a vehicle to take a GPS or other item

In order to convict a person of a burglary charge, there must be proof that the person intended to commit a crime. For example, if you have certain tools in your possession, such as a screwdriver, crowbar, lock pick, keys, spark plugs, bolt cutters, hammer, explosives, etc. these may point to evidence of your intent. Any item that could be used as an instrument to break into a structure or vehicle could be used as evidence against you.

There are specific distinctions when it comes to the type of burglary. The facts and circumstances determine the type of charge you will receive for the criminal act. Two important categories of burglary are commercial and residential. Each is identified by specific factors discussed below.

Commercial Burglary

A commercial burglary is charged when the accused enters a place of business with the intent to commit a crime. Falling under this purview is shoplifting, which involves entering a commercial establishment during regular business hours with intent to commit larceny. The property value, in this case, cannot exceed $950. All other entries into a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny are charged as burglary. An individual cannot be charged with both shoplifting and burglary for the same property. A commercial burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Residential Burglary

The definition of burglary in a residential situation includes any structure where the victim lives, as opposed to a commercial establishment. A conviction for residential burglary falls under the Three Strikes Law in California greatly enhancing the consequences for any future felony convictions. The law requires twice the amount of time in state prison for a subsequent conviction and a minimum 25-year prison sentence for any convictions after that.

The consequences of a burglary conviction at any degree can have lifelong effects. A criminal record has personal, professional, and financial implications that may be difficult to manage. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you understand the laws surrounding a burglary charge, potential conviction, and which consequences may apply to you.

Degrees of Burglary

The degree of burglary you are charged with comes with its own set of consequences. If you are convicted, the seriousness of the fines and length of a prison sentence will vary based on the facts and circumstances of your case and any prior criminal record.

First-degree burglary is a burglary of a residence, such as a house, boat home, trailer or apartment. The consequences include:

  • Maximum fine of $10,000
  • 2-6 years in State prison
  • A strike on your record towards the Three Strikes Law

Second-degree burglary is a burglary of a commercial establishment, such as a business or office. The crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This distinction is usually based on any previous criminal record and the circumstances of the crime. The consequences include:

  • Misdemeanor – maximum one year in county jail
  • Felony – 16 months, two years, or three years in State prison

Your sentence may be enhanced by one additional year in prison for each prior felony conviction. A regular burglary offense is upgraded to a violent felony if the following are true:

  1. A first-degree residential burglary conviction
  2. Someone is present in the home at the time of the act

You may receive three additional years in prison if your record shows prior violent felony convictions.

A California criminal defense attorney can discuss the possibility of reducing a felony charge to a misdemeanor or having your record expunged of your conviction if you are eligible to do so. Various conditions apply in order to obtain a remedy of this nature. Some parameters could include - you may not be on probation for any offense, all court-ordered obligations are complete, you've paid all fines, etc. To discuss these possibilities and what may be required of you, the Law Offices of David S. Chesley can help.

Your Defense

It's important to note that a burglary conviction only requires that you entered a building unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime. The actual theft or felony you intended to commit does not need to be proven. The burden of proof to show the intent to commit a crime is with the prosecutor of your case. Should this burden fail to be met, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help reduce your charges or have them totally dismissed. Some of the possible defenses you may be able to bring are:

  • Mistakenly identified
  • You had consent to take the property
  • You did not enter the building (cross the threshold such as walking through a door, into a garage, or reaching through a window)
  • You had no intent to commit a crime
  • Your intent to commit a crime arose once inside the building
  • Evidence obtained in violation of Fourth Amendment
  • Statements obtained in violation of Miranda Rights
  • If a vehicle involved, it was unlocked
  • You were with a group of people committing a crime but had no knowledge of their intent to do so

Building a defense to a burglary charge requires attention to detail and knowledge of the various range of explanations you may have that surround the incident. A criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who is skilled in this area of law can help you decide what the best defenses are for your case.

Call a Los Angeles Burglary Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

A burglary misdemeanor or felony conviction is a mark on your record that could affect your personal, professional, and financial future. The stress of facing these charges and dealing with the aftermath of an arrest is difficult. The consequences of a prison sentence, large fines, etc. are real possibilities that a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you understand. The highest priority is securing the best outcome possible for your case. Avoiding a criminal conviction, or reducing your charge or penalties requires a comprehensive understanding of the law. Contact the Law Offices of David S. Chesley today at 800-755-5174 or fill out our contact form online for a free consultation.

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Grand Theft

The Penal Code in California defines the severity of an offense and punishments by the value of the object or property stolen, and in the manner, it is stolen from the owner of the property.

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Robbery

California’s penal code 211 defines robbery as the act of felonious taking of property or something of value from the possession of another person by force or fear.

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Petty Theft

The penal code 484 in California’s law defines petty theft as stealing, taking, carrying, or embezzling property or money of another person that is capped at $950.

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Burglary

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Fraud

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Identity Theft

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Recent Results

  • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

  • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

  • Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

  • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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