Articles Posted in Burglary

A conviction of first-degree burglary requires evidence that the defendant entered certain structures with the intent to commit a theft or a felony. The structure must be one for which the purpose is habitation, even if not currently occupied, for example, a house, an RV, or a houseboat. Sometimes the element of intent to commit the underlying crime is easily proved because after the defendant entered the structure, he or she did commit the requisite theft or other felony. However, the underlying theft or other felony need not actually to occur to prove the burglary charge. If the prosecution can prove that the defendant intended to commit the underlying crime, that can be enough.

Recently, the California Court of Appeals considered a case where the defendant was charged with burglary when he entered the home occupied by his mother and brother. (People v. Mani, 3DCA, #C088716, 2022 Cal. App. Lexis 66, January 2022.) The prosecution alleged—as the underlying crime to the charge of burglary— that the defendant intended to steal from the home. Although the defendant did forcibly enter the structure and he was holding a kitchen knife, no theft occurred.

The defendant had previously threatened and harassed both mother and brother and both had active domestic violencerestraining orders against the defendant. These prior acts were put into evidence for proof of the defendant’s intent to steal from the home.  The defendant challenged the prosecutions “prior acts” evidence as inadmissible evidence that the defendant had the intent to steal. In other words, previous domestic violence did not prove that the defendant intended to commit a theft.

Police may have done a double take when they arrested two men for allegedly breaking into a rare coin and bullion shop in Costa Mesa. The two men, with almost the same name—Jamal and Jamel—look like the same person. That is because they are identical twins. The two 42-year old brothers from Los Angeles were caught on monitored security cameras breaking into the front doors of the shop in the early morning hours this past Sunday. The break-in was reported to the police but not before the brothers managed to grab some loot and speed away.

A car chase ensued with Costa Mesa police in pursuit on Newport Boulevard onto the eastbound 55 Freeway. Shortly after merging onto the 55, the twins stopped their car and jumped out. The police then chased the suspects on foot, at which point the suspects entered two building by breaking through the windows. The police finally caught up and the two men were arrested. It sounds like a scene out of a cop and robber movie with a twist. The cops must have been surprised to find that their suspects were identical twins.

When the brothers took off, they left their loot in the car. Police found coins and the brother’s burglary tools in their abandoned vehicle. News reports state the men face counts of burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and evading peace officers. I would think theft would be added to those charges.

When we hear that someone has been arrested for burglary, we imagine someone breaking into a home, late at night while the occupants sleep, and stealing something. While the scenario described is a burglary under California law, you can be charged with burglary even if you don’t take anything.

Simply put, burglary is defined as someone entering another person’s property with the intent to steal something or, commit any other kind of felony once inside. Even if you don’t act on the intent, the fact that the property was entered initially with the intent to commit a theft or felony is enough to be charged with burglary.

There are two degrees of burglary and they are both considered felonies. Although, second degree burglary is a “wobbler” meaning is can be filed as a misdemeanor. Felony burglary is a serious crime with serious consequences if convicted. The punishment for a conviction of burglary may include fines, prison and payment of restitution to the victim.

Degrees of Burglary Described:

Second-degree burglary, as mentioned above, may be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony, and is committed when a person enters a commercial building with the intent to commit a felony or theft once inside.

First-degree burglary is a felony, and as you may have guessed, is the more serious of the two. This is when a person enters a residence with the intent to commit a felony or theft once inside.

For the prosecution to prove a burglary charge, it must be proven that the defendant entered the property without permission and had specific intent to commit a crime once inside. Absent the intent, the prosecution may be forced to change the charge to trespassing or drop the charges completely.

One defense to a burglary charge might be that the defendant had permission to enter the property. If the defendant had permission to be on the premises, it would be hard to prove burglary. If something had been taken, it could have been an after-thought. In other words, once inside, the defendant notices something he/she wants and decides at that moment to take. There was no intent to commit the crime prior to entering the premises. Remember, a necessary element to prove burglary is intent.

Intoxication may be a possible defense. There was no intent to commit a crime once inside but, in an intoxicated state, enters a dwelling.

Every case is different and the specific facts will dictate the type of defense your attorney will pursue.

The penalties, if convicted, will depend upon how the prosecution files the case. Whether it is filed as 1st degree burglary or 2nd degree burglary. A conviction for 1st degree burglary can carry a sentence of state prison for two, four or six years. A conviction for 2nd degree burglary could be up to one year in jail or three years in prison, depending upon how it’s filed. This in addition to fines and possible restitution to the victim.

There are situations where a court may grant probation rather than jail time. However, with a conviction for 1st degree burglary, the Court cannot grant probation unless it is in the interest of justice and there are unusual circumstances.

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in the County where your case is pending is highly recommended as they will be familiar with the District Attorneys and Judges and will be in a better position to get the best possible outcome.

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Westminster Police arrested a 47-year-old man as he was attempting to break into a home while the residents were present. According to authorities, police officers responded to a 911 call of a man attempting to break into a home. The woman occupant advised that he was trying to get in through both the front and back doors. As officers arrived, they caught the suspect just inside the entryway of the home, still wearing gloves. He was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary. Authorities are also investigating whether this suspect may have been involved in other similar burglaries in the area.

First-degree burglary or residential burglary is serious not only because it is a felony, but also because it considered a “serious felony” under California’s Three Strikes Law and if convicted carries a mandatory prison sentence and a Strike. However, that being said, there are defenses to residential burglary and the prosecution does have the burden of proof.

In order for the prosecution to prove 1st Degree or Residential Burglary, it must be proven that the defendant intended to commit a crime or petty theft, once inside. Here are a few examples of intent:

If a person entered a residence, whether legally or not, and then once inside decided to commit a theft, it is not 1st degree burglary because the intent was formed after he entered the residence. Similarly, if a person is invited to a home, and once inside decides to commit a theft, it would not be considered 1st degree burglary because the intent was formed after they were inside.

However, take a situation where someone is in another’s home with permission, but knows that there is a piece of jewelry in the bedroom and decides to go into the bedroom to steal it. This can be charged as 1st degree burglary because they entered the bedroom with the intent to take the piece of jewelry. The same holds true if someone is invited to a home, and accepts the invitation because they plan on stealing something once inside. This can be charged as 1st degree burglary even though they were invited because; they intended to commit a theft once inside the home.

As you can see, it can get a bit tricky for the prosecution to prove intent. This is why the initial contact with the authorities is extremely important. When being questioned by police, the main focus of the investigating officers is to get the person to admit that they intended to commit the theft before they entered the dwelling, not after they were inside. They know that if the person arrested says that they decided to commit a theft after they entered the dwelling, then there is no intent and thus, no 1st degree burglary.

1st Degree Burglary vs. Second Degree Burglary. What is the difference?

First-degree burglary, also known as residential burglary is always filed as a felony. Simply put, it is the entering of any dwelling where someone lives. Second-degree burglary can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony and usually involves entering a commercial building.

Anyone who is facing a serious felony with the potential for a strike needs the advice and assistance of an aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with all of the defenses and requirements that go along with such a charge. Paying close attention to police conduct or misconduct at the time of the arrest and collection of evidence at the crime scene is extremely important. If proper procedures were not followed or if the suspect’s constitutional rights were in any way violated, a defense attorney may be successful in getting the case dismissed. In the absence of a dismissal, taking the case apart and finding holes in the police reports or prosecutions case may provide the attorney with enough to get the case reduced to a misdemeanor and thereby, avoiding a strike.

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A Fountain Valley High School storage locker was broken into and thousands of dollars worth of baseball equipment stolen over the Labor Day weekend. According to authorities, the equipment was taken from the locker sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning. The value of the items taken is reportedly to be $3,000.00 to $4,000.00. According to the Coach of the high school team, the school is made up of 84% economically disadvantaged families and the theft is a huge blow to the program.

The authorities are investigating the theft and if the perpetrators are caught, they face serious charges including but not limited to burglary and possession of stolen property. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the theft, the people involved, and their prior criminal record, the District Attorney could elect to add additional charges.

Burglary is defined under California law as “entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony or petty theft once inside.” Burglary is a “wobbler”, meaning that it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending upon the circumstances and your prior criminal record.

There is First Degree Burglary and <Second Degree Burglary. The difference lies with the type of structure broken into. Residential burglary is first-degree burglary and is always filed as a felony. In this particular situation, because the structure broken into was a storage locker at a high school and not a residence, the District Attorney may elect to file it as a misdemeanor, second-degree burglary.

If charged with burglary, the prosecution must prove certain elements of the crime in order to be convicted. The elements are: 1) That you entered the structure; and 2) that you entered the structure with the intent to steal or commit another felony once inside.

Intent, when entering a structure plays a very important role in terms of what the ultimate charge will be. In petty theft or shoplifting cases, it can be mean the difference between a charge of petty theft and second-degree burglary. As an example, a young woman goes shopping with the intent to buy a lip gloss. But, once inside, she discovers that the lip gloss is more expensive than she anticipated and she steals it. The charge should be petty theft because, when she entered the store, her intent was to buy a lip gloss and only elected to steal it after realizing that it was too expensive. Keep in mind however, that the charge of petty theft is based on a value less than $950.00. Above that amount will result in a charge of grand theft.

Regarding the situation here where the baseball equipment was taken from the storage locker, the value exceeds $950.00 and therefore, even if the intent to steal were not there, and thus no burglary charge, the charge would be grand theft, based on the value of the items taken.

The penalties and punishments for a conviction of burglary can be harsh. The following is an example of guideline penalties:

A Conviction for First Degree Burglary, a felony, exposes you to two, four or six years in a state prison and a $10,000.00 fine;
A conviction for Second Degree Burglary as a felony exposes you to sixteen months or two or three years in state prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

A conviction of Second Degree Burglary as a misdemeanor exposes you to up to one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

Burglary cases can be difficult and complicated for the prosecution to prove due to legal technicalities. For this reason, they often agree to settle cases for lesser charges. So, even though you may have been arrested and prosecuted for felony burglary, an experienced criminal defense attorney will often be successful in getting the charge reduced to misdemeanor burglary or dismissed all together.

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Residential burglary as defined by the law, is committed when a person enters a residence, where people are present, without the permission of the residents and with the intent to commit a theft or felony once inside. Residential burglary is First Degree Burglary, a felony and a Strike under California’s “Three Strikes” law, which means that if convicted, you would have to serve 80% of the sentence (85% if a person was home at the time).

There are two types of burglary under California law, First degree and second-degree burglary. First-degree burglary is always a felony and a strike. Second-degree burglary is not a strike and can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The sentencing range for first-degree burglary in California, including Orange County, is 2,4 or 6 years in state prison. It is also presumptive that if convicted of first-degree burglary you will not get probation and state prison should be imposed. Having a strike on your record has severe consequences if future felonies are committed. California law states that if another felony is committed by a person with one strike, the potential sentence can be doubled.

The Prosecution’s burden of proof in a first-degree burglary case is to prove that when entering the residence, the defendant had the intent to steal something or to commit a felony once inside. It only has to be proven that there was an intent to steal, not that there was actually something stolen. So, if the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant entered the residence with the specific intent to steal or commit another felony, then the charges can be substantially reduced. Also, if the intent was to commit a misdemeanor, not theft, then this gives the defense good grounds to dismiss the burglary charges or have the reduced substantially. If however, the state is able to prove intent, a good burglary defense attorney might look at the another avenue to avoid a more serious punishment. An accused person must show remorse and be able to pay back the victim(s). This could possibly result in a reduced sentence.

A skilled California Criminal Defense Attorney will be familiar with the different types of defenses available to someone being charged and will know how to present these defenses to the prosecution in order to get the best possible outcome. Some of the defenses a good criminal defense attorney might use are: 1) Lack of intent; 5) Insufficient evidence; and 6) Misconduct or failure to follow proper procedure by the law enforcement agency.

Residential Burglary in Orange County is taken very seriously by the District Attorneys Office and the consequences of a conviction has serious and long lasting effects on a person’s life. It is therefore extremely important that anyone who has been arrested and/or charged for Residential Burglary or First Degree Burglary immediately seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney, specializing in burglary cases. It is likewise very important to choose an attorney who is familiar with the Court in which the case is or will be heard. An attorney who has a good working relationship with the individual Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and Probation Department, as well as the Court staff, will be better able to get your charges reduced and/or dismissed. An attorney familiar with the Courts in which a case is pending will result in the best possible outcome available.

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After a neighbor noticed suspicious activity at a neighbor’s house, police were called regarding a possible burglary. The Westminster Police arrived just as a car with four suspects in it drove off. The police officers chased the car, which ended up crashing into a brick wall. Three suspects were caught and arrested on suspicion of burglary. Westminster Police are still looking for the fourth suspect.

A charge of burglary can be filed as a misdemeanor burglary or felony burglary depending upon the circumstance of the burglary and the criminal history of the person being charged with burglary. A conviction of felony burglary can result in up to 6 years in California State Prison.

Possible defenses to burglary are consent, lack of intent or intoxication. If the suspect’s attorney can show that his client was so intoxicated he could not form the intent to steal prior to entry into the house, the defendant may be acquitted.

Any person who is being charged with the crime of burglary in Orange County California needs an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. A good Orange County criminal defense attorney will be able to achieve the best possible outcome for someone being charged with burglary, whether in Westminster, Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach or Santa Ana.

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The crimes seemed simple. A person would buy something from the Apple store at the Mission Viejo Mall, or maybe at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, or at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California. A thief would break into the car after the owner left to do other shopping, and get away with new computer equipment.

But detectives began to notice a pattern based upon the type of items stolen, particularly the desirable Apple products. They set up a sting after Christmas in Mission Viejo, where eight similar burglaries had been reported. Authorities said three men followed an undercover Sheriff’s deputy after he bought a printer and computer and broke into his car after he drove off, parked and shopped elsewhere.

The detectives from three counties, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles, are sharing the information in hopes of capturing others believed to be associated with the ring. Shoppers often have to leave their purchases in their cars because they cannot take them with them which makes them easy targets.

Burglary is serious but the scale and number of the crimes makes it an even more serious situation. They will get jail time for their crimes. Whether you live in Tustin, Aliso Viejo or Brea, if you are charged with burglary, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.

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In the last few months, many of the surfers in Huntington Beach had been complaining that their cars were being broken into and things were being stolen as they surfed. These burglars were apparently stealing cash, IPODs and other valuables and using the stolen credit cards,. Police decided to stakeout the beach and see who was burglarizing the cars. Police observed Nathan Pater taking the surfer’s keys from either on the sand or underneath the tires of the cars. Pater would then unlock the car, take valuable items and then put the keys back where he found them. Police also observed Amber Marie Hitz drive by and pick Pater up. They were both arrested for suspicion of burglary, fraudulent use of credit cards and conspiracy.

Surfers often have to hide their keys because they cannot take them into the water with them which makes them easy targets. These burglars took advantage of the surfers and now will have to suffer the consequences. Burglary is serious but fraudulently using credit cards makes it an even more serious crime. They will likely get jail time and probation for their crimes. Whether you live in Tustin, Aliso Viejo or Brea, if you are charged with burglary, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.

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Around 6 people have been arrested for a string of burglaries that they allegedly committed in ritzy Hollywood neighborhoods over the past year. The masterminds behind the operation were apparently four girls who wanted the clothing and jewelry that celebrities had. Apparently, Rachel Lee, Diana Tamayo, Courtney Ames and Alexis Neiers, all friends from Indian Hills High School, studied celebrities and their belongings that appeared on award shows, magazines and TV shows and then would case the celebrities home to learn who lived there and when the celebrity would be gone. They then broke into the home of Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan and many other celebrities to steal their name brand clothing and high-priced jewelry. These girls were caught because surveillance videos caught a glimpse Nick Purgo, a friend of theirs, robbing a home. He was immediately caught and his computer turned up pictures of stolen merchandise and the girls who assisted in these burglaries.

These days, the media has been focusing heavily on the lavish life of celebrities and all of their amazing clothing, shoes, jewelry etc. Young impressionable teenagers see all of these items and know they cannot afford them. Most teenagers would get over the fact that they could not afford these luxury items, but these teenagers thought it would be better to break into celebrity homes, steal valuables and then wear them and show them off to their classmates. All of these suspects will likely be charged with many counts of felony burglary and are looking at serious prison time. Whether you live in Ladera Ranch, Tustin or Anaheim Hills, if you are charged with burglary, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.

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