It may be that you were wrongfully accused because you fit the description of the perpetrator, or perhaps you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Each year, hundreds of people are charged with crimes they did not commit. A burglary charge can devastate your personal and professional life. If you or someone you love has been charged with burglary, contact Fresno burglary defense lawyer Michael McKneely at (559) 443-7442. With experience as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, Mike is well-versed in making sure every fact is analyzed so that your charges are reduced or even dismissed, if possible.
If you were arrested for or charged with burglary, you may be unsure of what to do next. Let an experienced Fresno theft crimes attorney at Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer defend you against these allegations.
California Penal Code Sections 459 and 460 cover burglary, which is defined as entering a location with the intent to steal or commit a felony inside. Burglary is commonly mistaken with theft and sometimes thought to be “breaking and entering,” but unlike these two crimes, nothing has to be stolen and nothing has to be broken for a burglary to occur. It is an individual’s intent to steal or commit a crime that makes an ordinary entrance into a building a crime.
Criminal Penalties for Burglary
Burglary is separated into two degrees, and the punishment varies between the two. First-degree burglary is breaking into a residence (one occupied by people) with the intent to commit theft or a felony. All other burglaries are second-degree burglaries.
Examples of structures in which second degree burglary may be committed include:
- Shipping Crates
- Sea Vessels
California law carries severe consequences for first-degree burglary because breaking into a residence poses a risk to people and not just to property. It is also classified as a serious felony, making it a strike under the Three Strikes Law and a much more serious crime. Those convicted of first-degree burglary may be subject to 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison
Second-degree burglary is what’s known as a “wobbler” in California, meaning it can be charged and punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In both cases the consequences are serious. They include:
- Felony – county jail sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years
- Misdemeanor – county jail sentence of up to 1 year
Talk to a Fresno Burglary Defense Lawyer Today
With the help of a skilled Fresno burglary attorney, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove that you entered a structure with the specific intent of committing a theft or felony inside. One common defense, for example, involves the sequence of events. Sometimes the intent to steal was not present when an accused person actually entered the building, and thus, no burglary occurred. It could also be the case that you are simply a victim of mistaken identity. If you look like the perpetrator, you may have been arrested for the crime with few questions asked. Prosecutors and police have even been known to charge simple shoplifts as burglaries to leverage pleas out of fearful defendants.
If you’re facing burglary charges in California, preserve your legal rights by contacting Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer. Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely has been on both sides of the criminal justice system, so he knows what to expect and how to make the process easier for you. Call for free and confidential consultation today at (559) 443-7442.