A burglary occurs when when a person enters a house or any dwelling with the intent to commit theft or other felony inside (Penal Code Section 459).
The crime of burglary is divided into first degree burglary, or residential burglary, and second degree burglary. First degree burglary is far more serious because it is a felony that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor and it is a strike under California’s Three Strikes law.
In California, it is also a crime to possess “burglary instruments or tools” with the intent to use them to commit burglary. (Penal Code Section 466) Almost anything can be considered a burglary tool, including a crowbar or even a screwdriver!
In order to prove the crime of burglary, the District Attorney must prove all of the elements, including the defendant’s intent to commit a felony, when he/she entered the building. This type of property crime is frequently “overcharged” and sometimes a simple shoplifting case is charged as a second degree burglary. However, since voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, shoplifting is generally now a misdemeanor (if you have a prior felony conviction for shoplifting, be sure to contact a lawyer about getting re-sentenced to a misdemeanor).
If you are charged with burglary or a similar crime, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to analyze the facts and determine if there is a defense to the charges and how to best go about fighting the D.A.’s case.
For a free consultation about burglary or related charges, please contact Oakland criminal defense attorney Robbi Cook at (510) 208-5051.
Oakland/East Bay/Alameda County burglary charges defense/Oakland criminal attorney