What is Burglary?
California Penal Code Section 459 defines burglary as illegally entering a building or room with plans to commit a crime. While this crime often involves theft, the prosecution can charge you with burglary regardless of whether you stole anything. If the state can prove you planned to commit any felony when entering the building, the court may convict you of burglary in West Covina.
That’s why you should consult our experienced burglary defense attorneys without delay. Hiring a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible protects your rights and increases your chances of success. We’ve helped many clients avoid burglary convictions in the past, and we’ll fight just as hard for you! So call our law firm today for a free consultation.
Requirements For Conviction | First-Degree Burglary
West Covina prosecutors aggressively pursue first-degree burglary convictions because the crime involves unlawful entry into people’s homes and creates a significant risk to the residents. The prosecution must prove the elements outlined under PC 459 for a felony first-degree burglary conviction in West Covina:
- You entered a home or residential structure without the owner’s permission.
- The structure entered was a residence or dwelling as outlined by PC 460(a).
- You entered with the intent to commit a felony or theft inside the residence.
Requirements For Conviction | Second Degree Burglary
While second-degree burglary is the lesser of the two crimes, you can still face serious penalties. This crime is also known as commercial burglary because it involves unlawful entry into a non-residential structure, such as a shop, warehouse, store, or aircraft. The prosecutors will decide whether to file felony or misdemeanor second-degree charges against you. The following factors increase the likelihood of felony second-degree burglary charges:
- Being on active probation
- Past burglary convictions
- Threatened the owner of the structure within 30 days of the alleged burglary
The West Covina prosecutor has to prove the elements below for a second-degree burglary conviction:
- You entered an uninhabited structure or space with the owner’s permission.
- You entered with the intention to commit a felony or theft inside the structure.
Possession Of Burglary Tools | PC 466
Possession of burglary tools is commonly charged along with burglary in West Covina. You may face a violation of PC 466 if the police find certain tools in your possession at the time of your arrest, including but not limited to:
- Tension bar
- Bolt cutters
- Slim jim
- Lock pick
- Master key
Burglary Punishments & Sentencing | What You’re Facing
A burglary conviction can ruin your reputation, and it carries serious legal penalties as well. The court determines your sentence by reviewing the details of the case and your criminal record. California Penal Code 459 outlines the penalties for first-degree and second-degree burglary as follows.
First-Degree Felony Burglary
A first-degree burglary conviction results in a felony on your record and a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. Prior strikes on your record significantly increase the penalties for first-degree burglary. You face double the penalties for a second strike conviction, and a third strike conviction carries 25 years to life in prison. The standard sentencing for first-degree burglary in West Covina may include:
- Prison sentence of two, four, or six years
- Strike – California’s Three Strikes Law
- Felony probation
Note: Your attorney can present certain circumstances, called mitigating factors, which may decrease your sentence. If successful, the court may sentence you to felony probation and 90 days to a year in county jail instead of prison time. Mitigating factors can include the following:
- Clean criminal record.
- Mental or physical conditions that impact your judgment.
- Substance or alcohol addiction.
- You played a lesser role in the burglary.
- You avoided injuring residents or damaging property.
- You committed the burglary to provide for your family.
- You’ve shown remorse for committing burglary.
Second-Degree Felony Burglary
Our skilled criminal defense lawyers understand the best ways to negotiate with the prosecutor. We could argue lack of evidence before trial to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor before trial, especially if your case involves a loss of $950 or less. A felony second-degree burglary conviction in West Covina carries the following penalties: :
- Prison sentences range from 16 months to 3 years, depending on the degree you’re convicted of.
- Maximum fine of $10,000
- Felony probation
Second-Degree Misdemeanor Burglary
A misdemeanor burglary conviction carries the following penalties in West Covina:
- Jail sentence of one year
- Maximum fine of $1,000
- Misdemeanor probation
Burglary Tools PC 466
Possession of burglary tools carries the following penalties:
- Maximum jail sentence of six months
- Maximum fine of $1,000.
- Informal probation
Professional and Personal Consequences
A burglary conviction can destroy your credibility. When applying for jobs, you may face judgment from employers, and they may even refuse to hire you. Your burglary conviction may create problems with potential landlords and prevent you from finding reasonable housing. The resulting stress and struggles may cause conflicts in your relationships as well. With your future on the line, it’s essential to contact our experienced burglary attorneys immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, we understand how stressful this situation is for you and your family. That’s why we offer affordable payment plans and partner with EPAY Finance to reduce your financial burden. With over 40 years of experience, our attorneys have helped many clients get their burglary charges reduced or dropped in West Covina. Contact us now for your free consultation!
How We Can Help you | Defenses To Burglary Charges
When you choose Wallin & Klarich, you’re guaranteed solid legal representation for your burglary charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in the most effective defense strategies, and we understand how to apply them to your burglary case for the best results. We’ll try every available route to get your burglary charges dismissed. Our 40+ years of experience have given us unparalleled insight into what works in the courtroom. Your defense will depend on the facts of your case. The following defense strategies have been effective in past West Covina burglary cases.
Lack Of Intent
The prosecution must prove that you intended to commit a theft or felony crime prior to entering the structure. If you entered the building and decided to steal after you were inside the building, your actions don’t meet the requirements of PC 459.
For example, you and a group of friends go inside an abandoned home out of curiosity. Once inside, you find a necklace in a drawer and put it in your pocket. The cops show up and charge you with burglary.
Our attorneys could argue that you’re not guilty of burglary because you never intended to steal anything. We may present text messages and witness testimony to prove the real reason you entered the structure. We may even be able to convince the prosecutors to reduce the burglary charges before your trial begins.
The police make mistakes just like anyone else. In some cases, a person with legitimate permission faces burglary charges: This often occurs in cases where the owner is out of town or forgot about giving you consent.
If the owner gave you permission to enter the building, we might have solid grounds for requesting a dismissal. We can present witness testimony or documentation to support your side of the story. Contact us today for a free consultation!
In some cases, the police arrest the accused away from the crime scene. For example, your neighbor says she saw you breaking into the apartment manager’s office, so the police arrest you for burglary even though you tell them you were in another town shopping when the crime occurred. In this case, we could present bank statements or witness testimony to prove your innocence.
Hiring A Skilled Defense Attorney | How We Can Assist You
Serious accusations require a skilled and experienced defense attorney. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich stands out among the crowd of West Covina criminal defense firms. Our attorneys specialize in defending clients accused of burglary and understand the most effective defense strategies. You should consider many factors when choosing a criminal defense lawyer. However, four key characteristics set us apart, including:
- Loyal Advocates
- Skilled Negotiators
- Solid Record for 40+ Years
- Specialized Legal Knowledge
Your Loyal Advocates | The Wallin & Klarich Difference
Loyalty is hard to find. Unfortunately, many law firms treat clients like case numbers rather than real people. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe you deserve respect and dedication. But we don’t just say it; we show it through our devotion to your defense and our interactions with you. Our attorneys promptly address all your concerns because we never want you to feel dismissed or unheard. Rest assured, our communication with you will always be straightforward and genuine. With Wallin & Klarich at your side, you can walk into court confident that we have your best interests in mind. Moreover, we’ll be prepared to put up our strongest fight.
Skilled Negotiators | 40+ Years of Success
Wallin & Klarich has a history of success spanning 40+ years. We’ve obtained the best possible results in complex burglary cases and helped our clients avoid spending time behind bars. Their stories stand as a testament to our skilled legal negotiation. But, more importantly, they renew our motivation to defend others falsely accused of burglary in West Covina. Our passion for helping clients has not wavered in over four decades and counting. Discover how our skilled negotiators can help you fight false accusations of burglary in West Covina, CA. Contact us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a highly-experienced defense attorney.
When you need help, we will be here.