Oakland Burglary Lawyer
If the police are questioning you or have arrested you for allegedly entering a home or business and stealing or committing some other crime, your first step should be to say you are invoking your right to remain silent. Your next step is to call an experienced burglary lawyer to defend you against these accusations. Burglary is a serious offense in California, and in some situations, can be charged as a felony and a strike.
If you’re facing burglary charges or another property crime offense, having attorney Elliot Silver providing an aggressive defense on your behalf gives you the greatest chance to obtain the best outcome in your case. Call Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000 to schedule a free, initial case consultation.
California Burglary Law
According to California Penal Code (CPC) 459, you can be charged with burglary if you enter a house, apartment, room, shop, store, warehouse, barn, stable, mill, tent, vessel, or vehicle with the intent to commit theft or any other felony inside.
Prosecutors must prove multiple elements before you can be convicted of this offense. They must show you entered a type of dwelling, building, or other structure covered by the law. They must also prove that when you entered that structure, you intended to commit a crime. That crime must either be any level of larceny, or some other felony.
The statute does not specify that you had to enter the house through force. You might think of burglary as breaking and entering, however burglary does not require you to break a window or pick a lock. You could walk in through an open door and still be charged with this offense. Also, the law does not state you must successfully complete the intended crime.
Examples of burglary:
- Entering another person’s unlocked dormitory room with the intent to commit rape.
- Disabling a delivery truck’s alarm to steal inventory.
- Climbing a pier’s fence to gain access to other people’s sail boats and stealing person belongings from the boats.
- Using a friend’s keys to unlock their car and take back a gift you gave them.
Shoplifting Differs from Burglary
According to CPC 459.5, shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment during regular business hours and intending to steal property that is worth less than $950. While it fits under the definition of burglary, shoplifting, is treated differently under the law. It is a misdemeanor, although subsequent offenses can be charged as felonies.
Any other allegation of theft from a commercial establishment is charged as burglary. If you are accused of entering a business after hours or if you stole more than $950 worth of merchandise or inventory, then you will be charged with burglary and not shoplifting.
Statutory Penalties for Burglary
The potential penalties for burglary depends on the degree of the offense.
First-degree Burglary (CPC 460(a))
Burglarizing an inhabited dwelling home, vessel, or other structure, is also known as residential burglary. California defines “inhabited” as a building being used for dwelling purposes, whether it is currently occupied or not. This is a felony punishable by two, four, or six years in prison.
Second-degree Burglary (CPC 460(b))
Second-degree burglary in California occurs when you burglarize any other type of structure. This is a wobbler, which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor, it is punishable with up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony, you face up to three years in jail.
Collateral Consequences of a Burglary Conviction
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony burglary offense, you can expect to be punished with incarceration, probation, and fines. You can also be sentenced to complete community service and pay restitution. However, the impact of a conviction will go beyond these statutory punishments. You could experience a wide range of secondary consequences, including:
- Difficulty gaining acceptance to a college
- Difficulty obtaining scholarships, student loans, and grants
- Ineligibility for, difficulty obtaining, or loss of a professional license
- Difficulty obtaining and keeping a job
- Difficulty being approved for rental housing
- A reduction of your child custody or visitation
- A denial or revocation of a visa, green card, or citizenship application
- Deportation, if you are undocumented
- Loss of the right to own a firearm (for a felony conviction)
Defending Against Burglary Accusations
If you have been accused of committing burglary in California, it is best to call a burglary defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will carefully review your case to determine the most appropriate defense strategy. Your situation could support fighting for the charges to be dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court. This is possible if the prosecutor as over-zealous in charging you, despite minimal evidence.
If your case is set to move forward, then your attorney can argue:
- You have been falsely accused.
- There has been a mistake of identity.
- You had consent from the building owner or manager.
- You did not intend to commit an offense inside the structure.
- You thought you had a legitimate claim to the property you took.
- There is insufficient evidence.
A Burglary Lawyer Is Here to Help You
If you are facing burglary charges, you should contact an attorney right away. The penalties for a burglary conviction are serious, and you need to have the legal help of someone whose sole focus is protecting you. If you have already been charged, then it is even more imperative you contact an attorney.
Attorney Elliot Silver has 23 years of experience that he will put to use for you. He has the skills and resources necessary to aggressively defend you against criminal accusations. To learn more about how he can help you, call Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000 or contact us online to schedule a free case consultation.