MONTECITO Criminal Defense Attorney-
Breaking and Entering – Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C.
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 459: BREAKING AND ENTERING DEFENSE ATTORNEY
The city of Montecito is known for its luxury and effortless chic vibe. It’s a city to walk among the stars, live a life of leisure, and learn a few things about what makes Santa Barbara so special with a getaway (or two) in this tucked-away seaside haven. A city with extreme wealth can also be a big target for “breaking and entering”.
Under California Penal Code 459, “breaking and entering” commonly referred to as burglary, is a felony. Burglary is the entering of another’s residential or commercial dwelling with intent to commit theft or a felony. Although this crime is commonly referred to as breaking and entering, forced entry, or breaking, these actions are no longer necessary for you to be convicted of burglary in California.
If you have been arrested for “breaking and entering”, it does not mean that you are guilty. It’s important to vigorously fight a “breaking and entering” charge because a criminal conviction will stay on your record and can adversely affect job and educational opportunities down the road.
As a former Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Offices in Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties, Sanford Horowitz and his legal team will offer you a free consultation, investigate the evidence against you, and recommend practical steps to achieve the best possible results in your case.
BREAKING AND ENTERING & BURGLARY
Historically, burglary was defined as breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to commit a felony inside. Today, states have done away with many of these requirements and broadened the definition of burglary. In California, a person commits burglary by entering into any building, room, store, vehicle, shipping container, or mine without permission and with the intent to commit theft or a felony inside.
For example, a person who goes into someone else’s apartment in order to steal a laptop has committed burglary. The elements of a modern day burglary include:
Just the mere presence of an intruder on the premises is sufficient as long as the intruder’s presence was unlawful. The opening of a door or window of a dwelling is considered a “breaking” even if the door or window was unlocked or slightly open.
The California law also states that constructive breaking such as by fraud, threats, or misrepresentations are also considered a breaking.
BREAKING AND ENTERING PENALTIES
- “Entered” a building or premise either partially or completely; AND
- Did so with the intent to commit theft or a felony
It is not necessary for the defendant to have “broken” into the premises nor for the defendant to have successfully completed or fully carried out the theft or felony so long as the intent can be proven.
FIRST DEGREE BURGLARY
- a two, four, or six-year sentence in a state prison; and
- a “strike” on the defendant’s record.
Under California’s Three Strikes Law, if you receive a strike for a felony conviction, such as burglary and you are convicted of a second felony, the prison sentence for the second felony will be doubled. A third strike (a third felony conviction) will result in a life sentence.
SECOND DEGREE BURGLARY
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor second-degree burglary conviction is:
- one year in county jail; and
- a fine of $1,000
Penalties for a felony second-degree burglary conviction are:
- a 16-month, two-year, or three-year sentence in a state prison
It is possible to have a felony second-degree burglary charge reduced to a misdemeanor, specifically if the total value of stolen goods totals less than $950.
FIGHTING A BREAKING AND ENTERING CHARGE
If the owner of the premises consented to the defendant’s presence on the property, it might serve as a defense.
AUTHORIZED TO ENTER
Similarly, if a person grants authority to the defendant, it might serve as a defense against criminal charges. On the other hand, the liability may shift to a different party such as a security guard or front desk operator.
If you are facing a charge of felony breaking and entering, Santa Barbara County defense attorney Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. knows the law and the best strategies for your defense. We have extensive experience representing clients throughout the Santa Maria area and want to help you understand the charges you are facing as well as what your rights are under the law. If you’d like to schedule a consultation about your case, call 805-452-7214 or fill out this contact form.