A male juvenile was taken into custody on suspicion of burglary after three people, suspected of committing a series of home burglaries, were seen near the Golden West College in Orange County. According to Huntington Beach Police, there have been a series of recent home burglaries in the north end of Huntington Beach. Two suspects are still being sought.
Burglary is defined by California law as “entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) once inside”. Forced entry is not required for someone to be charged with burglary, only that you entered a building with the intent to commit a theft or felony.
Burglary is separated into two categories, first degree and second degree burglary. First-degree burglary is always a felony; second-degree burglary may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor. This is referred to as a “wobbler”, which means that it may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The circumstances of the case will dictate how the charge is filed. This will be determined by 1) the circumstances of the case and 2) your criminal history. First-degree burglary is referred to as residential burglary and is committed if you burgle an inhabited dwelling, whether it is currently occupied or not. Second-degree burglary, referred to as commercial burglary, includes everything else.
The penalties and punishments for First Degree burglary are two, four, or six years in the California State Prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.00; If convicted of second degree burglary as a felony, you face sixteen months, two or three years in the state prison and the same fine; if convicted of second degree burglary as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.00. California law instructs judges not to issue probation if convicted of burglarizing an inhabited structure unless it is an “unusual case where the interests of justice would be best served by doing so”. For this reason, an experienced criminal law defense attorney, having extensive experience and knowledge in burglary cases, is the best way to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome.
Fortunately, there are defenses to burglary. In this case in particular, a skilled Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney will be familiar with the numerous defenses to be considered and will know exactly how to present them to the prosecution and Court. Some of the defenses include: Intent, it must be proved that you intended to commit a theft when you entered the dwelling; 2) Mistake of fact, you believed you had the right take something back that belonged to you; 3) Consent, you were invited in by the owner and the owner knew of your intent to commit theft (this becomes complicated); and 4) You are innocent of the charges. This could include mistake in identity and/or misleading evidence.
A good criminal defense attorney will present the most effective arguments and legal defenses to convince the prosecutor to reduce or possibly dismiss your charges.