Burglary is a serious charge and is usually a felony. However, it can be charged as a misdemeanor since it is considered a wobbler crime. Either way, if convicted of burglary, you stand to incur life-altering penalties. These penalties include lengthy jail sentences, high fines, probation, community service, restitution, and more. Here’s what you need to know about burglary and how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight these charges and protect your rights under California law.
Under California law, burglary is very simply defined. In order to be charged with burglary, a person must:
- enter a building
- without permission from the owner of the building
- and have the intent to commit theft or a felony
For example, a person may be charged with burglary if they enter a home without authorization and steal property or money. But under the same definition, a person may also be charged with burglary if they enter a private commercial building that they had no right to access with the intent to commit arson, which is a felony. Even if arson isn’t committed, for example, he or she can still be charged. This is because in both instances, the intent to steal or commit a felony existed.
Potential Defenses Against Burglary Charges
There are many ways you can defend yourself against burglary charges with the help of an attorney. One of the most commonly used defenses is that of actual innocence. But under some circumstances, it may be more beneficial for the defendant to argue mistaken identity, lack of intent, or lack of evidence. A defendant may also use the tactic of suggesting that they did the acts that they’re accused of, but nothing they did amounted to an actual crime. For example, a defendant may prove that they had permission to enter the property. Or, they may argue that they never entered the property at all. If any of the elements that constitute burglary are broken down, then the crime does not exist.
When to Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The most important thing you can do after being charged with burglary is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Riverside Criminal Defense, we can aggressively defend your rights under the law and will advocate for the charges against you to be dropped or reduced. Contact us now for a consultation by calling 951-384-7375.