Los Angeles Burglary Lawyer

Last Modified: April 4, 2024
Los Angeles burglary lawyer

Facing a burglary charge in Los Angeles is a serious situation that can affect your life for years to come. Burglary is not just about breaking into a home or business. It's also about entering with the intent to commit theft or any felony. This crime carries significant penalties, including jail time and a criminal record. At Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers, we understand the gravity of these charges and are here to help.

When accused of a commercial or residential burglary crime, you need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Los Angeles' burglary laws. Theft crime is prosecuted vigorously, and our criminal defense law firm can defend you against either a felony or misdemeanor.

Learn more below. Then, contact us for a free consultation.

Skilled Criminal Defense Representation for Los Angeles Burglary Cases

Skilled criminal defense representation for Los Angeles burglary cases

Burglary cases in Los Angeles require a skilled legal defense. These cases often hinge on the specifics of how and why someone entered a property. Our legal team at Perlman & Cohen specializes in dissecting these details to build a strong defense. We bring our expertise and resources to every case, ensuring your side of the story is heard.

Our approach involves a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the burglary accusation. We look at every angle, from the evidence against you to potential witnesses. This comprehensive approach helps us find weaknesses in the prosecution's case. Our goal is to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.

Understanding Los Angeles Burglary Laws

Los Angeles burglary laws are detailed and specific. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone facing burglary charges. They define what constitutes burglary and outline the penalties if convicted. Our team stays up-to-date on these laws to provide informed legal representation.

California Penal Code Section 459 – Burglary

California Penal Code Section 459 covers burglary. This is defined as entering a building, room, or locked vehicle to steal something. This definition is broad and includes many different situations. It's not just about breaking in. This also covers the intent when entering.

This statute divides burglary into first-degree (residential) and second-degree (all other types). First-degree burglary is a felony, while second-degree may result in either a felony or misdemeanor charge. It will depend on the circumstances of the case. The goal to commit theft or another crime is a key element that must be proven for a burglary conviction. The potential penalty is up to six years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Types of Burglary Charges in Los Angeles

Types of burglary charges in Los Angeles

Burglary charges in Los Angeles vary based on the location and circumstances of the alleged crime. Each type of burglary has specific elements and potential penalties. Understanding these distinctions is important for building an effective defense.

First-Degree Burglary

  1. Definition and Elements: First-degree burglary involves entering an inhabited dwelling with the purpose of committing theft or a felony. An inhabited dwelling can be a house, apartment, or any living space. This type of burglary is always a felony in California.
  2. Potential Penalties: The penalties for first-degree burglary can be serious. They include imprisonment in state prison for up to six years. A conviction also counts as a strike under California's Three Strikes Law.

Second-Degree Burglary

  1. Definition and Elements: Second-degree burglary involves entering any other type of building, room, or locked vehicle with the objective of committing theft or a felony. This includes shops, offices, and other non-residential buildings. It's generally less severe than first-degree burglary but still a serious charge.
  2. Distinctions From First-Degree Burglary: The main difference between first and second-degree burglary is the type of property entered. Second-degree burglary may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the case and the defendant's criminal history. How it's charged also impacts the potential penalties.

Commercial Burglary

  1. Specifics of Commercial Property Crimes: Commercial burglary involves entering a commercial property with the intent to commit theft or a felony. This can include retail stores, warehouses, or office buildings. The intent to steal or carry out another crime is key to this charge.
  2. Legal Consequences: The consequences of commercial burglary depend on various factors, including the value of the property involved and the defendant's criminal record. The offense can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

Related Burglary Offenses

Other offenses are often related to burglary charges in Los Angeles. These include possession of burglary tools, petty theft, grand theft, receiving stolen property, and trespassing. Each of these crimes has its legal definitions and penalties.

California Penal Code Section 466: Possession of Burglary Tools

Possession of burglary tools involves having tools commonly used for breaking and entering with the intent to use them for burglary. This can include lock picks, crowbars, or screwdrivers. Possession of these tools can lead to charges even if a burglary hasn't occurred.

California Penal Code Section 484(A): Petty Theft

Petty theft, defined under California Penal Code Section 484(A), involves stealing property worth $950 or less. It's often related to burglary cases, especially if the intent of the burglary was theft. Petty theft is usually a misdemeanor with penalties including up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

California Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft

Grand theft, defined in California Penal Code Section 487, involves stealing property worth more than $950. It can be charged in relation to a burglary if high-value items were the target. Grand theft is another crime that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or felony, contingent on the case. The penalty is up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

California Penal Code Section 496: Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property, covered by California Penal Code Section 496, involves buying, receiving, or possessing property that you know is stolen. This offense can be related to burglary cases, especially if the stolen items are later found in your possession. This crime is prosecuted as petty theft or grand theft, hinging on the value of the stolen property.

California Penal Code Section 602: Trespassing

Trespassing, defined in California Penal Code Section 602, involves entering or remaining on someone else's property without permission. It can be charged alongside burglary if there's evidence of illegal entry without the intent to commit theft or a felony.

What You Should Do if You're Charged With or Being Investigated for Burglary

What you should do if you're charged with or being investigated for burglary

If you're charged with or being investigated for burglary, there are a few steps you should take. They include:

  1. Remain Silent: Exercise your right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court.
  2. Don't Resist Arrest: If you're being arrested, don't resist. Resisting can lead to additional charges.
  3. Contact a Lawyer Immediately: Get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can provide guidance and protect your rights.
  4. Avoid Discussing Your Case: Don't discuss your case with anyone but your lawyer. This includes friends, family, and especially law enforcement.
  5. Follow Your Lawyer's Advice: Listen and follow your lawyer's advice. They have the expertise to navigate your case.
  6. Don't Contact the Complaining Witness: Avoid any contact with the alleged victim. Contact can be seen as an attempt to influence their testimony.
  7. Prepare for Bail: If applicable, prepare for the bail process. Your lawyer can guide you through this.

Remember, these steps are crucial in protecting your rights and building a strong defense.

The Legal Process in Los Angeles

A. Arrest and Booking Procedures: When you're arrested for burglary, you'll be taken into custody and booked. This process includes taking your photograph and fingerprints. You'll also be asked for basic information about yourself.

B. Arraignment and Bail: At the arraignment, you'll hear the charges against you and give your plea. Bail may be set, which is an amount of money that ensures you return to court. Your attorney can push for a lower bail amount or for release on your own recognizance.

C. Pre-Trial Proceedings: Before the trial, there are pre-trial proceedings. This includes hearings where your lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges.

D. Trial Process: If your case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove you committed burglary beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will formulate your defense, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge the prosecution's evidence.

E. Sentencing and Appeals: The court will determine your sentence if convicted. This can include jail time, fines, and probation. Your lawyer can file an appeal if you believe there was an error in your trial.

Legal Defenses Against Burglary Charges in Los Angeles

Defending against burglary charges requires a deep understanding of the law and a strategic approach. Here are some common defenses:

Lack of Intent To Commit Theft

A key element of burglary is the intent to commit theft or a felony upon entering. Proving you didn't have this intent can be a strong defense. If you entered a property without the intent to steal or commit a felony, the burglary charge may not stand.

For example, if you entered a building to seek shelter or because you were lost, this might not constitute burglary. Your lawyer can argue that the necessary criminal intent was absent.

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken identity is a common defense in burglary cases. Sometimes, witnesses or victims incorrectly identify the person they believe committed the crime. If you can prove you were not the person who committed the burglary, this can lead to an acquittal.

Your lawyer can present evidence like alibis or surveillance footage to support a mistaken identity defense. They can also question the reliability of witness identifications.

Reclaiming Your Property

This can be a defense if you entered a property to reclaim what you believe is rightfully yours. However, this defense requires that you genuinely believe you have a right to the property. Your lawyer can present evidence to support your claim.

It's important to note that even if you believed the property was yours, how you reclaim it can still result in criminal charges. Your lawyer can explain the nuances of this defense.

Insufficient Evidence

A common defense in burglary cases is arguing that there's insufficient evidence to prove you committed the crime. If the prosecution lacks strong evidence, they may not be able to meet the burden of proof required for a conviction. Your lawyer can challenge the evidence presented, looking for gaps or inconsistencies.

Evidence like fingerprints, surveillance footage, or witness testimony can be crucial in burglary cases. If this evidence is weak or unreliable, it can be a significant advantage for your defense. Your lawyer will work to highlight these weaknesses to the court.

How Our Los Angeles Burglary Lawyer Can Help You With Your Case

If you're facing burglary charges in Los Angeles, our experienced attorneys can help in several ways. They include:

  • Expert Legal Knowledge: Our team has extensive knowledge of burglary laws and the legal system. We use this expertise to build your defense.
  • Personalized Defense Strategies: We tailor our defense strategies to the specifics of your case. This includes analyzing evidence and crafting arguments that support your side of the story.
  • Protection of Your Rights: During the legal proceedings, we ensure your rights are protected. This includes representing you in court and during negotiations.
  • Negotiation Skills: Our lawyers are skilled negotiators. We can work with prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges and negotiate favorable plea deals when appropriate.
  • Support and Guidance: Facing burglary charges can be overwhelming. We provide support and guidance to help you through this challenging time.

Our goal is to provide you with the best possible defense and support throughout your case.

Get Advice From Our Experienced Los Angeles Burglary Lawyer at Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers

Get advice from our experienced Los Angeles burglary lawyer

Burglary charges can profoundly impact your life, but with the appropriate legal representation, you can fight these charges effectively. At Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers, we bring our expertise and resources to your defense.

Don't face burglary charges alone. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help. Our experienced team is ready to provide you with the legal support and representation you need. Call us today, and take the first step towards protecting your future.

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