Burglary, particular in the first degree, is a serious offense. Anyone convicted of a burglary in California may find that their criminal history follows them forever, making it difficult to find employment opportunities among other associated problems. If you have been accused of committing this crime, then you need a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles burglary attorney working for you. Contact our offices even if you haven’t been charged yet. We may be able to provide assistance while law enforcement is conducting an investigation with the intent to charge you with burglary.
California First Degree Burglary
First degree burglary in Los Angeles is a serious criminal offense. Alternatively known as residential burglary, this felony involves entering a structure with the intent of committing a theft or some other felony. California first degree burglary falls under the state’s “three strikes” law, making the stakes for these cases particularly high.
Defining Residential Buildings in California
California’s first degree burglary law covers any structures where people reside or sleep. Accordingly, the structure could be a single-family home or an apartment. It could also be a camper, hospital room or hotel room. An attached garage is also included in the definition. Even common areas like the lobby or shared laundry room of an apartment complex are considered residential buildings for the purposes of this law. It’s important to note that the dwelling does not have to be occupied at the time of the burgling. The primary purpose and usage of the property is what defines the building’s inclusion as a residential building, not whether or not it is occupied upon the occasion of the burglary.
What Does It Mean to “Enter?”
Although California burglaries are sometimes referred to as “breaking and entering,” it is not necessary for any breaking to occur. Simply removing a screen from a window or wandering into a garage through an open door can constitute entering under the California law against burglary. Of course, breaking a window or forcing the lock on a door are also means of entering a property. You cannot be charged with burglary if the structure you enter is where you live or a business you own. Because you have a legal right to be in that building you cannot be charged with burglary for entering it. However, you can be charged with other crimes that you may commit while on your property.
The Role of Intent
One of the most difficult elements that the prosecutor must prove in California burglary cases is that the defendant actually intended to commit a theft or other crime at the time they entered the building. Sometimes defendants confess that they entered a residence with the intent to steal. This makes it easy for the prosecution to build a burglary case against them. In other cases, defendants do not confess but circumstantial evidence may suggest that they entered a property with an intent to steal. For instance, a suspect caught with lock picks and empty bags may be providing excellent circumstantial evidence that the prosecutor can use against him. He doesn’t have to confess because items found in his possession or at the scene are considered sufficient evidence to establish his intent. Don’t make it easy for the prosecution to prove intent in your case. Talk to an experienced Los Angeles burglary attorney before speaking with the police to avoid implicating yourself.
California Second Degree Burglary
Second degree burglary is sometimes called commercial burglary in California. This law covers all structures other than those that are used for residential purposes. In addition to business or industrial properties, automobile theft or stealing from cars is included in the second degree burglary category. Unlike first degree burglary, which is always a felony offense, second degree burglary may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The value of the stolen item or items is often the determining factor in California burglary cases. Items worth less than $400 may result in a misdemeanor charge while items worth more may result in felony charges. Note that entering a business or retail shop during their operating hours and stealing items worth less than $950 will result in shoplifting charges instead of burglary charges because the defendant arguably had the legal right to enter the premises.
Penalties for Burglary in California
Second-degree, misdemeanor burglary charges may lead to up to one year in county jail. A fine of no more than $1,000 may also be levied. It’s possible that someone charged with a second-degree misdemeanor may only be sentenced to probation. While this means that the defendant will not serve time in jail they will have to abide by restrictions to avoid violating probation and being required to go to jail instead.
Second-degree, felony burglary charges may lead to as much as three years in county jail and a fine of not more than $10,000. The consequences are similar for first-degree burglary charges, with a defendant often being sentenced to one year in a county facility or as much as six years in a state prison. Fines of up to $10,000 may also apply.
Experienced Los Angeles Burglary Attorneys
Don’t take chances with your future if you are facing burglary charges in California. If you are convicted, it may affect you for the rest of your life. We provide dedicated, aggressive legal services to people who have been charged with burglary in Los Angeles.
The public outcry against bullying has grown increasingly vocal. Adults, teens and children across the country are taking a stand against all forms of harassment and bullying. In a growing number of circumstances, these stands are including bringing criminal charges against the person accused of being a bully. Many people who are charged with bullying and related infractions in California are the victims of overzealous prosecutors. Some of the so-called crimes involved in bullying are extremely difficult for District Attorneys to successfully prosecute. If you have been accused of bullying in California, then you may need to retain the services of an experienced California criminal defense attorney.
What Is Bullying?
Anti-bullying laws in California describe this crime in terms such as intimidation, harassment and discrimination. Cyberbullying, or bullying done through electronic means, is also included under anti-bullying laws. These laws also define certain classes of people against which it is illegal to discriminate. Protected classes include race, religion, gender expression, nationality, sexual orientation, disability and gender. A person may be guilty of harassment if they attack someone else on the basis of any of these items. This means that the defendant is accused of annoying, provoking or even threatening the other person. Anything that they deliberately do that may cause emotional distress to another individual may constitute bullying.
What About Cyberbullying?
Before the advent of the Internet, most bullying took place in person, such as between two students in a school cafeteria. However, modern young people have considerable contact with one another in cyber space through social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They also have email, smart phones and instant messaging programs on computers. The Internet and the prevalence of technology has meant a proliferation of opportunities for people to harass others. Accordingly, California law has been forced to evolve to keep up with the problem of cyberbullying. If you have been accused of cyberbullying or online harassment, you need a practical, experienced criminal defense attorney representing your interests in court.
California Criminal Cyberbullying
California anti-bullying laws divide online bullying into two major categories. These are posting information with the intent to incite fear and use of an electronic device for the purposes of harassment. In the first category, a defendant may be guilty of cyberbullying if they post personal, identifying items about another person or create a harassing electronic message with the intent of causing the victim to fear for their safety or to fear for the safety of those closest to them. In the second category, the defendant must use any electronic device to contact another individual and use offensive or obscene language or make a threat against the other individual. A defendant charged in either of these cyberbullying categories may be looking at a misdemeanor level penalty of no more than a year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.
Bullying in Los Angeles
While cyberbullying cases appear to be on the rise, there are still instances of defendants being accused of bullying in person. Under California law, bullying consists of physical and/or verbal behavior that has a detrimental effect on someone else. Accordingly, this can refer to any behavior that causes another person to be put in reasonable fear of their safety. If the bullying occurs between students, the behavior may have a detrimental effect on the victim’s academic performance or interfere with their ability or willingness to participate in educational and extra-curricular activities. Once again, it is extremely important to work with an experienced Los Angeles bullying defense lawyer if you are accused of these infractions.
Breaking Anti-Bullying Laws Can Be Difficult to Prove
Some laws only require that the District Attorney prove that the defendant actually committed the crime of which they are accused. Other crimes, such as harassment, have a higher standard. In these cases, the prosecutor must find a way to prove that the defendant actually intended to harass the alleged victim. If the defendant had no intent to harass or offend the victim, then they cannot be guilty of violating California’s anti-bullying laws.
California Education Codes
Because most instances of bullying occur within the school system it is largely left to California Education Codes to define punishments. These consequences usually consist of things like suspensions, detention and expulsions. This is because the state’s penal code doesn’t have a specific law against bullying. Accordingly, it’s more likely that a person will actually be charged with assault, making criminal threats, hate crimes, sexual battery or harassing electronic communication instead of bullying.
Experienced Los Angeles Bullying Defense Attorneys
If you or your child has been accused of bullying or other related misdemeanors, then it is imperative that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. When law enforcement gets involved in these matters, it’s not unusual for things to get out of hand quickly. Sometimes the police and courts are brought into situations that should more appropriately be confined to school administrators and parents. Being involved with the courts this early in life can have a seriously detrimental effect on the future of a young person. It can put them on a path that makes it difficult for them to perform academically, to expand socially and to ultimately become a functioning, contributing member of society.
You can protect your child’s future by working with the California bullying defense lawyers at this firm. Contact us to learn more.
Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.
Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.
Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.
We provide superior service, excellent results, at a level superior to other criminal defense law firms. Regardless of where your case is, nationwide, we can help you.
555 W 5th St 35th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013
35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106
85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004
195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201