Property crimes in California often involve the taking of, unlawful entry onto, or unlawful damage to the property of another. These usually conjure images of unruly children breaking windows or spray-painting buildings, but property crimes actually cover a wide-range of behaviors with penalties linked to the value involved. Until you are caught up in a property crime charge in California, it is easy to think of these issues as minor. However, there are some serious property crimes such as arson or burglary that lead to heavy consequences, like time behind bars, paying court-ordered restitution, and a criminal record.
It is imperative to have knowledgeable counsel at your side in a property crimes case. Oakland criminal defense lawyer Elliot Silver knows that any criminal charge is drastic. He will see you through the process from start to finish. Call Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000 to schedule a free, initial consultation.
Elliot persistently negotiated with the DA’s office until they finally offered me a plea bargain which was drastically reduced from the initial charge. Elliot was super supportive during a really hard time in my life…He remained available and explained every step of the legal process so that I never felt unsure of what was happening. You’re the best Elliot, thank you so much!!!”
California Property Crimes
At Silver Law Firm, we know every case is different, and we are here to learn the facts of your case so we can prepare for what comes next: negotiations with a prosecutor or a trial where attorney Silver will destroy the case against you. Our top priorities will always be protecting your rights and obtaining the best possible outcome.
There are many different property-related offenses under California law, including:
- Trespassing (Penal Code 602)
You can be charged with a crime for intentionally going onto another person’s property, whether it is land or a building, without their permission. Depending on the circumstances, you can be charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. An infraction will lead to a fine, and a misdemeanor can result in a fine and up to one year in jail. You will be charged with a felony if there is evidence you trespassed with intent to cause someone harm. This is punishable by up to three years in prison.
- Criminal Mischief (Penal Code 594)
Under California law, you can be charged with what is known as criminal or malicious mischief for intentionally vandalizing, defacing, damaging, or destroying property. This includes graffiti. Most mischief that results in damage worth less than $400 is charged as a misdemeanor. However, aggravating circumstances including damage worth more than $400, could elevate the offense to a felony, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and three years in prison.
- Burglary (Penal Code 459)
If there is evidence you entered or remained in someone’s home or business with the intent to commit a felony inside, you will be charged with burglary. This offense does not require breaking anything to enter the building. Depending on the type of structure you entered and other factors, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
- Arson (Penal Code 451)
Arson is the reckless or willful and malicious burning of any building, property, or forest. You can be charged with arson if your actions cause property damage, or if they cause bodily injury or death. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. If there is evidence you committed arson with the intent to defraud, you could be punished with 16 months to three years in prison. Arson that damages an inhabited structure could result in three to eight years of imprisonment, and arson that causes bodily injury can be punished with up to nine years in prison.
Statutory Punishments and Collateral Consequences
If you have been charged with a property offense, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You may face:
- Time in jail or prison
- Fines, court costs, and other fees
- Community service
You may also suffer a number of collateral consequences including:
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty obtaining a job, rental housing, or student financial aid
- Loss of, or ineligibility for, a professional license
- Changes to your child custody or visitation rights
- Denial or revocation of an immigration visa, permanent residency, or citizenship
Have you been charged with a crime? Contact Silver Law Firm today.
Defending Against Property Crimes
The best defense for your case depends on the exact charges against you and the circumstances that led to your arrest. A critical factor in almost every property crime case is your level of intent, or whether your actions or the outcome were intentional. A prosecutor needs to demonstrate that you knowingly set out to infringe upon someone’s rights or damage someone’s property.
Some potential defenses include:
- Consent by the property owner
- Lack of the required intent for the crime
- Mistaken identity
Attorney Elliot Silver has built a career on defending the rights of the accused and believes it’s his life’s mission to protect people from the unforgiving criminal justice system. No matter what got you here, we are prepared to defend you to the fullest extent of the law. We will work to frame the evidence presented to the judge and jury in the best light possible, showing the court that you are a person who may have made a mistake, been led astray, or was simply involved in an accident. While we will push for an acquittal, we will also prepare for the possibility of conviction. We will seek leniency on your behalf in order to minimize the potential consequences of a guilty verdict.
Contact an Oakland Property Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been accused of a property crime in California, your best chance for success is working with an ardent and seasoned criminal defense attorney. At Silver Law Firm, we have over 20 years of legal experience. This experience gives us the knowledge, skill, and resources to find all the holes in the case against you. We will remain firmly by your side as we fight ruthlessly for you.
To learn more about how we can help, contact Silver Law Firm online, or call (510) 995-0000 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.