Burglary Defense Attorney in San Diego
Understanding the Elements of Burglary
There are many different theft crimes a person can be charged with in California - shoplifting, robbery, and burglary, to name a few.
If you have been charged with burglary, speak to an experienced San Diego theft defense attorney who can help. At JD Law, we’ll review your case and prepare a defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed. For a free consultation about your unique situation, please give us a call at (760) 630-2000. The penalties for a burglary conviction can be serious, so do not delay.
What Is Burglary?
Many people use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably, but they are two very different crimes. Burglary is the act of entering a building or structure (such as someone’s outdoor shed) with the intent to steal another person’s property or commit a felony. Robbery involves using force or threats of force in order to steal another person’s property.
Both of these crimes are serious, but robbery has more severe penalties in California. However, a burglary charge may be upgraded to a robbery charge if the person who stole or tried to steal property used force in an attempt to escape when pursued.
Differences Between First- and Second-Degree Burglary
Under California’s Penal Code Section 459, a burglary is committed in the first degree if a person enters a residence, vessel, floating home, trailer coach, or inhabited portion of any building belonging to another. All other burglaries are considered burglary in the second degree.
For example, if someone broke into his neighbor’s home to steal electronics, he would be charged with first-degree burglary. But if he stole his neighbor’s bank card and PIN number and withdrew money from his neighbor’s bank account, he would probably be charged with second-degree burglary.
First-degree burglary is charged as a felony, which results in penalties such as time in a state prison, high fines, and a strike on the person’s criminal record under California’s Three Strikes law.
Second-degree burglaries are considered wobblers, which means the prosecution has the discretion to charge them as misdemeanors or felonies. The nature of the crime, a person’s criminal history, and how the prosecution views the crime will determine how second-degree burglary is charged. However, a second-degree burglary conviction will not result in a strike on the accused’s criminal record under the Three Strikes law.
What Defenses Are There for Burglary?
You do not need to take or remove any property to be convicted of burglary in California. You simply have to enter a structure with the "intent" to steal another person’s property or commit a crime. However, when a person has not stolen anything or committed any other crime, it can be very difficult for the prosecution to prove that he or she had the intent to commit a crime – a strong defense in your favor.
Another possible defense to burglary is if you legally entered the property on a prior occasion. When the prosecution uses evidence such as fingerprints lifted at the scene, a possible defense could be that those fingerprints were there from the time you entered the premises legally.
The Right Attorney Will Bring the Right Defense
The right defense can keep you out of jail, eliminate the high fines associated with burglary charges, and prevent any "strikes" on your criminal record. But you need the right attorney to build that defense.
At JD Law, we have the skills, experience, and toughness to get you out of a tight spot. Founding attorney James N. Dicks is a board-certified criminal defense specialist who knows the system. A former LAPD detective, he knows how to best prepare a case to be heard before a judge or jury.
If you have been charged with burglary, contact JD Law today at (760) 630-2000 for a free consultation about your unique situation.
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