The Dangerous Consequences of Burglary
In the wake of the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, President Obama and other lawmakers around the country have called for a renewed commitment to tighten gun laws. Of course, the effect of this has been that gun sales have increased across the United States.1 In California, sales have greatly increased since the San Bernardino shootings, with 134,000 sales following the shooting. Californians have purchased between 800,000 and 960,000 weapons in each of the last four years.
So what does this increase in gun sales have to do with burglary in California? Polling shows that 63 percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the home makes it safer, and they have shown willingness to fire guns at people entering their homes. Recently, four attempted home burglaries in Southern California have ended with the suspect being shot by the home owner.2 Is it safe to burglarize a home?
You may want to think twice before you break into someone’s home. Not only are home owners more willing to defend themselves and their property, but the legal consequences of burglary can be severe.
First Degree Burglary: California Penal Code Section 459
In California, the elements of a burglary are:
- You entered a building, room within a building, locked vehicle or structure;
- When you entered that building, room, vehicle or structure, you intended to commit either a felony or a theft; AND
- The value of the property that you stole or intended to steal was more than $950;
- The structure that you entered was not a commercial establishment; OR
- The structure that you entered was a commercial establishment, but you entered it outside of business hours.3
If you are not shot to death by a home owner, you face serious criminal consequences. In California, burglary of any residence is a first-degree burglary and is a felony. A conviction is punishable by two, four or six years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, burglary is a “strike” offense, which means that your sentence can be increased if you are convicted of another strike offense in the future.
Contact the Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
Serious charges require a strong defense. If you or someone you love is facing a burglary charge, you should contact a defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled team of attorneys has more than 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing burglary charges. We know the harsh consequences of a conviction, and we will use all our skill and knowledge to giving you the best defense available.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich burglary attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. Gregor Aisch and Josh Keller, “Gun Sales Soar After Obama Calls for New Restrictions,” The New York Times, March 18, 2016, available at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/10/us/gun-sales-terrorism-obama-restrictions.html?_r=0 href=”#ref1″>↩
2. David Downey, “GUNS: Defending one’s home walks delicate legal line,” The Press-Enterprise, March 22, 2016, available at http://www.pe.com/articles/force-797753-law-california.html href=”#ref2″>↩
3. See CALCRIM 1700: Burglary (Pen. Code § 459). href=”#ref3″>↩