Determining The “Degree”
In California, burglary is defined and prohibited under California Penal Code 459. Burglary is when a person enters a dwelling or other structure with the intent to commit a crime. There are two types of burglary:
- First degree burglary
- Second degree burglary
Generally, first degree burglary occurs in a residence and is a felony punishable by two, four or six years in a state prison, up to $10,000 in fines and the defendant is not eligible for probation. Second degree burglary occurs in any structure other than a residence and can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If second degree burglary is charged as a felony, generally the defendant will be sentenced to sixteen months, two or three years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines; if charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. The punishments for both types can be increased or decreased with the existence of certain elements such as whether a person was injured during the attempt or whether a weapon was used.
Identifying the best defense
There are several defenses that a burglary attorney can use in order to help you defeat a false burglary charge. These include:
- Lack of intent
- Consent or ownership
- Factual innocence
- Police misconduct
An Orange County burglary attorney may argue that at the time when you entered the building or structure you lacked the intent to commit a crime. It can also be argued that you are not guilty of burglary because either you owned the item you took or you had consent from the owner to take possession of the item. Your attorney may also present the defense that you are not guilty of the crime because you are factually innocent either because it was a case of mistaken identity, someone is falsely accusing you for their own reasons or because of misleading evidence such as your fingerprints being at the scene of the crime when you were there for an unrelated reason. Finally, you may not be guilty of the crime because of police misconduct, such as planting evidence or violating your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.
If you have been falsely accused of either first or second degree burglary in Orange County, hiring an attorney can help you avoid jail time, fines and the long-term repercussions of having a criminal record.
Facing Burglary Charges? Hire a Lawyer
Those charged with burglary face extreme penalties; those convicted of this crime are often ordered to serve significant jail and/or prison time and are left with a felony on their criminal record. The Law Offices of Randy Collins defends those faced with these offenses and provides all Orange County defendants with free case evaluations. Call (844) 285-9559 today to obtain your free consultation and find out how our attorneys can help.