Burglary is considered a serious offense. A first-degree burglary conviction can result in you having to serve up to six years in the state penitentiary. Moreover, a first-degree burglary is a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. Additionally, because the stigma of dishonesty is attached to the crime, it is extremely difficult to secure employment or commercial or professional licensure with a conviction of burglary on your record.
That’s why it’s extremely important to hire one of our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to defend you against this most serious offense.
California Penal Code 459 states that breaking into any building with intent to steal is considered a felony. To charge you with a felony, the state only has to prove that you entered a building with the intent or purpose to steal. None of the alleged stolen items need to be recovered to bring a case against you. There are two types of burglary: first degree and second degree.
A first-degree burglary typically takes place in an occupied residence, such as a home. If found guilty of first-degree burglary, the guilty party may be placed on probation or may serve a prison sentence for a maximum of six years. In California, a burglary is a “strike,” which requires the guilty party to serve 85 percent of the sentence. Strikes always affect the amount of time the guilty party must be imprisoned, with each strike prolonging the term of imprisonment. If you are convicted of a third strike, you may be issued a life sentence.
A second-degree burglary generally takes place in an unoccupied building and is commonly referred to as a commercial burglary. If you walk into a store with the intent to steal merchandise, you can be charged with second-degree burglary. If the items stolen amount to under $400, the charge will most likely be a misdemeanor. If the stolen goods amount to over $400, the charge will most likely be filed as a felony. In California, commercial burglary is not a strike, and in many cases the sentence can be reduced.
We are skilled and experienced Torrance criminal defense lawyers, and we will use all available defenses to protect you against a conviction. We have over 60 combined years of experience defending people accused of burglary and other crimes.