Facing Burglary Charges In California? What You Need To Know About The Law

The state of California averages nearly 240,000 burglaries every year. For a crime that occurs so often, there are many misconceptions about the charges. It can be difficult to build a reasonable defense against burglary without understanding some of the nuances of the law.

Here's a look at a few of the key things that you should know about California's burglary laws:

You Don't Even Have to Steal Anything

Although most burglary cases involve stolen property, you can actually face charges of burglary without having stolen anything. The prosecution doesn't even have to show that you intended to steal. In fact, to prove burglary, the prosecution only needs to prove that you entered the area with the intent to commit any felony – not just stealing. Since the prosecution has to show that you intended to commit a felony, your defense attorney may focus on casting doubt about that, as it's hard to prove intent in many cases.

Burglary Isn't Always a Violent Crime

When the prosecution determines that you had the intent to commit a felony, that felony doesn't necessarily have to be violent. If you go into a store and forge a check, the prosecution has the option to charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor in most cases. So, you could be charged with burglary in that case since the forgery charge could be considered a felony.

Burglary Doesn't Always Require Forced Entry

When you hear the word burglary, the first image that comes to mind is probably that of someone sneaking in a window or picking a lock. In fact, you can face burglary charges even if the front door is open and you walk right in. The only time that the law will typically require evidence of forced entry is if the crime involves a vehicle.

Entry is a Relative Term

The definition of entry under the burglary laws is subjective. It doesn't require that your entire body actually cross into the area. You can reach in a window, and as long as any part of your body enters the space, that's sufficient to claim entry.

When you are facing burglary charges, the first thing you should do is reach out to a criminal defense attorney who can help you. Your defense attorney will consider many things, including the details presented here, to try to build a case for you. Additionally, he or she will review the terms of the case to make sure that the charges aren't based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law.

For more help, contact a company like Law Office of John Lozano with any questions or concerns you have.