Orange County Burglary Defense Attorneys
Many people believe that shoplifting, robbery, and burglary are all the same crimes with different names, but they're actually very different theft crimes that have different charges and punishments. Simply put, burglary is when a suspect plans to enter a structure with the intent to commit a felony or petty theft once inside. What you tell police regarding your case during questioning could make the difference in what you're charged with.
If you or somebody you know have been arrested for a theft crime, you need to stop talking to the police and contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 right away. We have over a decade of winning cases and reducing theft charges for our clients accused of burglary and other theft crimes in the courts of Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego.
In California, there are two Penal Code (PC) sections that deal with burglary including:
- PC 459 —The crime of burglary is covered under PC 459 Burglary, which, as explained above, is entering a structure, inhabited dwelling, or other enclosure with the intent to commit a felony or a petty theft once inside.
- PC 460 —This PC section deals with the two different degrees of burglary, first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary.
If you're being charged with first-degree burglary, you must understand this is the more serious burglary charge, as it's considered a felony. First-degree burglary is a type of residential burglary. A residence is defined as a place where a person lives and sleeps, regardless of if the said dwelling is currently occupied.
Second-degree burglary is typically commercial burglary and it's often charged along with various theft crimes such as shoplifting, petty theft, and grand theft. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with second-degree burglary—either as a misdemeanor or felony.
"Thank God I found Michael L. Guisti, because he saved me from being put in jail for burglary. Through the grace of God I got a hold of Michael's number and he got rid of my burglary charge. Michael can get rid of anything for you."
For you to be charged with burglary, prosecutors must prove two things—one, you entered a building or other structure, and two, at that time you entered, you had the intent to steal, shoplift, or commit a felony. It's very important to understand if you reach through a window or use an object to get an item from inside a building while standing outside of the door/structure, it constitutes as burglary.
In regards to intent, what objects you have on you and/or what you say to police can make all the difference if you're facing burglary charges. Your intent may be clear if you're caught with a crow bar, screwdriver, or other items associated as being burglary tools, in which case, police can charge you with a misdemeanor "burglary tools" crime under PC 466.
For most residential burglaries, the intent is often assumed to be there—but isn't always—which is why you need a professional defense lawyer by your side.
Our Orange County defense attorney at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti explains that many shoplifting cases are done on impulse. However, if you imply you thought of stealing prior to entering a store or residence, you can be charged with burglary. If you didn't intend to shoplift and simply shoplifted on impulse, you cannot face burglary charges, since you didn't plan to commit the crime before entering the building.
Should you be arrested for shoplifting, invoke your Miranda Right and have your attorney by your side during questioning so you do not accidentally admit to burglary.
In addition to shoplifting, petty theft, and grand theft charges, there are various other common charges associated with burglary including:
- Robbery —Robbery, under PC 211, is the taking of another's property from their person or immediate presence accomplished by force or fear. If a suspect used fear and/or force after breaking into somebody's home, that suspect would be charged with burglary and robbery. Yet, if the suspect held somebody up in the street to take their property, they would only be charged with robbery.
- Embezzlement —Under PC 503, embezzlement is when you steal property that has been entrusted to you.
First-degree burglary is always a felony and if convicted, you could face between two to six years in a state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted of felony second-degree, you may face between 16 months and three years in a state prison and a $10,000 fine. Those convicted of misdemeanor second-degree burglary can face up to one year in an Orange County jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Burglary charges are very serious by themselves, and when in conjunction with other felony charges, you may be facing incredibly harsh penalties. To ensure you obtain the best possible outcome for your case, please contact the Orange County defense attorney at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti right away. Our legal team can go above and beyond to potentially reduce or eliminate your criminal charges. We can also guide you through the legal process, represent you in and out of court, and do everything possible to make this complicated time easier for you.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.