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San Diego Burglary Criminal Lawyer

Burglary in San Diego

Burglary is the act of entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime therein. In San Diego there are three different offenses that can be committed during a burglary, petty theft, grand theft or a felony. Petty theft is the unlawful taking with the intent to steal property valued under $950. Conversely, grand theft is the unlawful taking with the intent to steal property valued over $950. A felony is the classification for the most serious offenses, usually resulting in imprisonment for more than one year.

 

Understanding Penal Code Section 459

In consideration of the seriousness of burglary, California has criminalized it under Penal Code section 459. Under this law, “Any person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, railroad car, locked or sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle, trailer coach, as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, any house car, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, vehicle as defined by the Vehicle Code, when the doors are locked, aircraft as defined by Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code, or mine or any underground portion thereof, with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony is guilty of burglary".

Basically, to convict someone of PC 459, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant entered a building or a vehicle;
  2. With the intent to commit petty theft, grand theft, or a felony therein.

 

Understanding Penal Code Section 460

California penal code section 460(a) is a special allegation that makes burglary of a residence with an occupant, a strikeable offense under California's Three Strikes Law. California separates burglary into two different categories under Penal Code section 460. Under this law, "Every burglary of an inhabited dwelling house, vessel, as defined in the Harbors and Navigation Code, which is inhabited and designed for habitation, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, or trailer coach, as defined by the Vehicle Code, or the inhabited portion of any other building, is burglary of the first degree. All other kinds of burglary are of the second degree."

Basically, to convict someone of PC 460, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

First Degree Burglary

  1. The defendant entered a dwelling;
  2. With the intent to commit petty theft, grand theft, or a felony therein.

Second Degree Burglary:

  1. The defendant entered any structure that is not a dwelling;
  2. With the intent to commit petty theft, grand theft, or a felony therein.

 

Understanding PC 460(a) Strike Allegation 

Under California Penal Code section 460(a), "any burglary of the first degree, wherein it is charged and proved that another person, other than an accomplice, was present in the residence during the commission of the burglary" will result in a special strike allegation. Commercial burglaries are considered less serious offenses because they occur after business hours when the structures are not usually inhabited. Residential burglaries are considered more serious offenses because the structures are dwellings and they are usually inhabited. Hot prowl burglaries are the most serious offenses because the residences are inhabited at the time of the burglary. Be very careful because this allegation of an inhabited structure is what makes first degree burglary a strikeable offense. California's Three Strikes sentencing scheme gives strikes to repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies, with each strike adding significant time to their prison sentences. You need an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney who knows how California's Three Strikes law works and will take the necessary precautions to protect you from any strikes. At Monder Law Group, we accomplish this by holding the prosecution accountable to their burden of proof.

Basically, to prove first degree burglary with a PC 460(a) strike allegation for an inhabited structure, the prosecutor will have to prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Hot Prowl Burglary: 

  1. The defendant entered a residence or a commercial structure;
  2. With the intent to commit petty theft, grand theft, or a felony therein;
  3. While occupants were still inside.

 

First Degree Burglary is a Felony

Felony First Degree Burglary Penalties:

  • A maximum sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years in California state prison;
  • Formal probation;
  • A maximum fine of $10,000;
  • A strike under California's Three Strikes Law.

 

Second Degree Burglary is a Wobbler

A wobbler is an offense that the prosecution can choose to file as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor has full discretion and will make a determination based on the manner in which the defendant committed the crime therein and the defendant’s criminal history.

Misdemeanor Second Degree Burglary Penalties:

  • A maximum sentence of 1 year in county jail;
  • Informal probation;
  • A maximum fine of $6,000.

Felony Second Degree Burglary Penalties:

  • A maximum sentence of 16 months, 2, or 3 years in California state prison;
  • Formal probation;
  • A maximum fine of $10,000.

 

Shoplifting is a Lesser Related Offense to Second Degree Burglary

California Penal Code section 459.5 defines shoplifting as entering a commercial establishment during normal business hours with the intent to commit petty theft. This offense is similar to burglary under Penal Code section 459, in that in that both criminalize entering a structure with the intent to steal property therein. However, shoplifting is a lesser related offense because it only involves petty theft, property worth $950 or less, making it a misdemeanor. The lesser related offense of shoplifting is a valuable alternative if you are facing charges for second degree burglary that could wobble up to a felony. 

 

Not Guilty

Because of the severity of the penalties that are involved with burglary charges, your criminal defense attorney will have to determine which legal defense strategy will work best in your particular situation.

Here is a list of the most common defenses for burglary:

  • False Accusation; you did not commit burglary.
  • Lack of Criminal Intent; you did not enter the structure with the intent to commit a crime therein.
  • Claim of Right; the items you are charged with stealing actually belong to you.

 

Best Defense

If you or someone you know is being accused of burglary, you need to immediately contact San Diego burglary defense attorney Vik Monder at (619)405-0063 to handle your case. Burglary is a serious crime that could not only put you in prison for years with numerous fines but could also count as a strike towards your record. Contacting attorney Vik Monder will only increase your chances of fighting the case and having the charges dropped. Your freedom is a gift that can be taken away and you can be sent to prison for a majority of your life. Do not take the risk, and do yourself a justice and put up a fair fight by hiring attorney Vik Monder, he will do what is necessary to fight for you!

 

Contact San Diego Burglary Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder for a FREE consultation today at: 619-405-0063

Contact San Diego Criminal Attorney Vik Monder for a free consultation today at: 619-405-0063

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