December 20, 2013

The classic holiday film Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, is a family favorite during the Christmas season. Children and parents alike delight at the antics of 8-year-old Kevin, who sets clever booby traps that successfully foil the attempts of bumbling burglars Harry and Marv – the “Wet Bandits”- in their quest to steal goodies from the McCallisters’ homes while Kevin is home alone.

But what if Harry and Marv were real burglars and were arrested in real life for their slapstick shenanigans? These would-be criminals would face serious custody time for committing many crimes under California law.

Let’s take a look some of the crimes Harry and Marv may have committed and the consequences they would face if ever convicted…

Impersonating a Peace Officer (Penal Code Section 538d)

home alone bandits
The Home Alone bandits would face serious time.

In the beginning of Home Alone, Harry – played by Joe Pesci – pretends to be a police officer while scoping out the McCallister’s home the day before the family is set to fly off to Paris. Harry could be faced with misdemeanor charges of impersonating a police officer, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.

Driving a Stolen Vehicle

If the van driven by the “Wet Bandits” had been stolen, Harry and Marv could be prosecuted for auto theft. Vehicle theft in California can actually lead to charges for one of two different offenses. These are:

  • Grand theft auto (or “GTA”) under Penal Code 487(d)(1), which may be charged as a felony carrying up to three years in jail; and
  • Unlawful taking of a vehicle (or “joyriding”) under Vehicle Code 10851, usually a misdemeanor crime that can lead to up to one year in jail.

 

Residential Burglary (Penal Code 459)

The movie’s plot centers on Harry and Marv’s repeated attempts to burglarize the McCallister home. Penal Code Section 459 defines burglary as entering a room, structure or locked vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or petty theft once inside.

Burglary of a house or other places people reside (also known as “residential burglary”) is burglary in the first degree and is a felony “strike” in California. Penalties for first degree burglary include up to six years in prison.

First Degree Robbery (Penal Code 211)

Harry and Marv use crowbars as their tools of choice to break into the McCallister’s home while they know Kevin is home alone. Robbery in California is defined as “the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.” As such, the bandits could face first degree robbery charges and up to six years in prison in addition to burglary charges.

Brandishing a Weapon (Penal Code 417)

Threatening someone by exhibiting or drawing a dangerous weapon such as a crowbar is the crime of brandishing a weapon. Violating Penal Code Section 417 could send Harry and Marv to jail for up to a year.

Child Endangerment (Penal Code 273a)

The burglars place young Kevin’s life in jeopardy by exposing him to situations likely to produce serious injury or death. The burglars could also be facing a “wobbler” charge of child endangerment. A wobbler is a crime that may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Child endangerment is punishable by up to one year in jail or up to six years in prison plus a listing on the Child Abuse Central Index (click here to learn more about the Child Abuse Central Index).

The Home Alone Bandits Didn’t Give Up and were Thirsty for More!

Harry and Marv returned for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York stating that they busted out of jail. However, we’d like to think they actually retained excellent legal representation. Or it was simply in their contracts with the film studio…

Contact Wallin & Klarich if You are Facing Criminal Charges like Harry and Marv

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges similar to those portrayed in the movie Home Alone, you need to speak to our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing lengthy prison sentences for multiple criminal charges.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will be able to examine all of the evidence against you to determine if all of the elements of a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, we may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Our top priority is to get you the best possible result in your case.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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Author: Matthew Wallin

Matthew B. Wallin is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Wallin & Klarich. He approaches each case as an opportunity to help an individual at a time when they need it most and understands that he is the one they have turned to for help.   Mr. Wallin has represented hundreds of our clients in cases involving DUI and DMV hearings, domestic violence, assault and battery, drug crimes, misdemeanors and serious felonies. With extensive experience handling DUI cases, Mr. Wallin is one of the premiere DUI defense attorney in Southern California.

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