Burglary is a common crime in California. Between 2001 and 2006, there were over 200,000 burglaries each year in the state. And yet it's often misunderstood, with people not being sure what constitutes burglary and possibly confusing it with other crimes such as robbery.
The following are four things you might not know about burglary:
1) Burglary doesn't have to involve theft
Many cases of burglary do wind up involving stolen goods, but someone can get charged with burglary without committing or intending to commit theft. To get convicted of burglary, what prosecutors have to show is that you entered a building, room, or vehicle and intended to perpetrate either petty theft, grand theft, or any felony. That felony doesn't have to involve stealing.
2) Burglary doesn't have to involve a forcible break-in
If someone's door is unlocked and you're able to just stroll into their house, you can still get charged with burglary. The same goes for walking into a business during its hours of operation with the intention of committing petty theft, grand theft, or a felony.
The only situation where a burglary has to involve a break-in is for vehicles.
3) The felony you intend to commit doesn't have to be violent
If instead of petty or grand theft, you intend to commit a felony, the felony doesn't have to be violent. Furthermore, it can be a crime that isn't always a felony, but under some circumstances could be a misdemeanor. So for example, if you enter a business with the intent of committing forgery, this is an example of a non-violent crime that prosecutors could treat as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
4) Burglary doesn't have to involve your entire body
If you stick your arm through a window, that's also considered entry. Even if it isn't part of your body, but a tool you're using such as a flashlight, net, or rope, that's still considered entry.
How can our law office help?
If you've been charged with burglary, and live in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas, be sure to contact us. Since 1999, our office has successfully defended several hundred individuals who faced felony and misdemeanor charges. We will help make sure the charges don't rest on ambiguous evidence. We can help!