In criminal law, an attempted crime is one in which a person tried to commit a crime, but was unable to complete the act.
Under California Penal Code Section 21a, you have committed an attempted crime if:
- You specifically intended to commit a crime;
- You performed a direct action toward committing the crime; and
- The action you performed was ineffective toward the commission of the crime.
With that background in mind, let’s look specifically at the crime of attempted burglary.
What is Burglary? (PC 459)
Before we can discuss what attempted burglary is, it is helpful to understand the crime of burglary. California Penal Code Section 459 states:
“Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel… floating home… railroad car, locked or sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle, trailer coach… any house car… inhabited camper… vehicle… when the doors are locked, aircraft… or mine or any underground portion thereof, with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony, is guilty of burglary.”
Breaking PC 459 down to its basic elements, in order to be convicted of this crime, you must have:
- Entered into a structure or vehicle, and
- Did so with intent to commit a theft or any felony
But what if you only attempted the crime or part of the crime?
What is Attempted Burglary? (PC 459 & PC 664)
To understand how you could be charged with attempted burglary, let’s look at an example of this crime.
Say you plan to break into a jewelry store to steal as much valuable items inside as you can carry. You prepare for the crime by purchasing a glasscutter, a mask and gloves, and a device that will allow you to scramble the security cameras. You go to the store at night, and you start to break the lock on the door. Then, the alarm goes off. Before you can finish breaking the lock, a police officer arrests you.
In this instance, you did not complete the act of burglary because you never set foot inside the jewelry store and you did not take anything. However, you did take a direct step toward entering the building when you tried to force open the lock on the door. In addition, the fact that you have a glasscutter, mask, gloves and a security camera scrambler is evidence that could show you had the intent to commit a theft once inside the building.
Thus, your arrest would likely lead to you facing attempted burglary charges under PC 459 and PC 664.
Punishment for Attempted Burglary in California
In California, attempted crimes are punishable by the half the sentence you would face if you were to accomplish the crime. Therefore, the punishment you face for attempted burglary depends upon the type of burglary you are accused of attempting.
If you are convicted of attempted first-degree burglary, you face up three years in state prison. If you are convicted of attempted second degree burglary, you face up to one-and-a-half years in county jail.
Contact the Burglary Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing charges of burglary or attempted burglary, you should seek the help of an experienced burglary defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been successfully defending clients accused of burglary and attempted burglary for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich burglary defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.