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What is Penal Code 459 and How is it Defended?

California Penal Code 459 is defined as any person who enters a property with the intent to steal or cause harm. Often referred to as breaking and entering, Penal Code 459 encompasses any act where prosecution believes the defendant entered the property with the specific intent of committing a crime. In fact, this charge can stand even when the defendant didn’t actually break into a locked commercial or residential building. While there are many specifics that determine the route in which prosecution builds there case, an effective law firm breaks down this situation to determine the true nature of the crime.

Examples of Commercial and Residential Burglary

While specific scenarios in which the defendant can be charged with burglary may dramatically vary, the following examples are common:

  • Breaking into a locked store or home with the intent of stealing items, such as electronics or jewelry.
  • Entering an unlocked residence, such as through an opened garaged door, and stealing any item.
  • Entering a department store during normal operation hours with the intent of shoplifting a specific or non-specific item.
  • Walking into a banking establishment with the intent to cash a check that is known to be fraudulent.
  • Entering a commercial workplace with the intent of assaulting an employee or customer.
  • Breaking a vehicle window to steal the radio or some other item found within the locked car.

Legal Defense Stances for Penal Code 459 Charges

Although the law firm representing a case will take all necessary steps to clarify the true intent of the charge and actions resulting in your arrest, the following are common defense stances your legal team may take:

  • Distraction Upon Leaving the Property – If you were caught leaving a commercial retail store without paying for an item, your lawyer must determine whether or not you were of sound mind. For example, you had every intention to pay for the item, but due to a text message, e-mail or phone conversation, you became too distracted and accidentally left the premises without paying. Other forms of distraction may include having to deal with an unruly child or having a physical emergency, such as needing medications or needing to seek emergency care due to a spontaneous injury or flare-up of an existing medical condition. Often times, security footage supports these claims as it shows the defendant being distracted upon exiting the property.
  • Emotional Trauma – Emotional trauma is a reasonable cause for accidental theft. For example, you were just diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer. In your highly emotional state, you took an item and absentmindedly exited the property. Your legal defense team should be more than capable to defend your actions as your mind was too busy pondering the consequences of your emotional state rather than thinking about proper shopping protocol.
  • Misunderstanding Between Shop Owner and Defendant – In some cases, the defendant did not enter and leave the property with an intent to commit a crime as he believed the shop owner or employee had given him permission to leave without paying.

Defending Penal Code 459 Charges

Defending Penal Code 459 charges requires a law firm dedicated to uncovering true intent and preventing fraudulent convictions. Along with the aforementioned defense stances, your lawyer must guide your trial by revealing false and true intents while calling upon evidence and witnesses to support the truth of your case. Our law firm is dedicated to uncovering this truth, and we work tirelessly to ensure your innocence is upheld and all evidence delivered by the prosecution is void of falsehoods and fraudulent claims.

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