PC 459 Second-Degree or First-Degree Burglary
The first question you have to figure out if you have a California burglary case is whether it's a first-degree or second-degree burglary. Is it a residential burglary that is a strike or a commercial burglary like at a store or a store? Of a car. Burglary is defined under Penal Code 459 PC. There's a vast difference between the two (CALCRIM 1701 – burglary degrees). One's a strike; one's not. One will subject you to prison time, which would be residential burglary.
Then there's an extra add-on bonus in residential burglaries if there's a person present. In other words, if someone goes into someone's home and there's a homeowner there, that turns into a violent felony. The person will serve 85% of whatever time they get. It's a terrible scenario.
So, once you determine if it's second-degree or first-degree, the next thing the prosecutor and judge will look at is what does the person's criminal record look like? Do they have any other theft crimes? God forbid, do they have any other burglaries on their record?
Do they have any strikes on their record? If you end up pleading for residential burglary, you will get a strike on your record. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the prosecutors will be looking for prison time most of the time.
Your defense attorney has to take that burglar outside the average dangerous burglary where someone's going into somebody's house to establish that unusual scenario. They could get shot. The homeowner could get fired.
They're invading somebody's life. You've heard a home is a castle to some people. The prosecutors and judges look at it that way, so they take these burglary cases (CALCRIM 1700), especially in LA, severe.
Many areas are very conservative and consist of conservative jurors and a traditional bench. The judges are conservative, and they're looking to punish people very severely if they're going to break into somebody's house.
Misdemeanor or Felony Burglary Charges
You have a much better chance if you have a commercial burglary or second-degree burglary. I often get misdemeanors in those cases because they're wobblers, unlike a residential burglary, which is not a wobbler. It's a straight felony.
So, if you can get a misdemeanor in a case, you keep out of prison. Often, we can even save you out of jail, and one of the main things they're looking at in these second-degree burglaries is making the victim whole. In other words, whoever you victimized, whether it's from taking property from their car or a store or whatever the case may be in a second-degree burglary case in Van Nuys, will be looking at you paying the person back.
If you can compensate and get their money back, you're in a solid position to work out a fair resolution. If you can't pay the money back, you'll still be able to work out a solution. You're still going to be ordered to spend the money. They're just going to take it out of your hide. Meaning they're going to punish you for not getting the money back to the victim in a timely fashion.
Avoiding a Penal Code 459 Burglary Conviction
Burglary cases are enormous in Los Angeles because if you or your loved one gets convicted of residential burglary, you've got a strike on your record for the rest of your life. The crime of burglary is defined under California Penal Code 459. You're typically looking at prison time, which is not a good scenario.
Burglary cases are now on the rise, especially with the new prosecutor looking at some of these cases and thinking about how they will deal with them. It's more important than ever to get a criminal defense attorney like me who's been doing this now for 27 years and who's been able to prevent these burglary convictions from going on people's records.
It's crucial because if you get a burglary conviction, it hits so many significant necessary bells that we don't want to hit. It gives you a strike. It puts you in a category of criminal offenders in California who no one will hire.
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a burglary case in the San Fernando Valley, you've got to hire someone like me who's been defending these cases for 27 years, a staple in the San Fernando Valley community for many years.
The Hedding Law Firm is well known and respected by judges and prosecutors alike. So, when I stand up for my client, especially young clients who are charged with residential burglary cases and I talk about:
- avoiding a conviction for a strike,
- avoiding prison, and
- trying to set things up so these young offenders can survive, and
- can move forward in the job market.
New Los Angeles District Attorney Policies
Fortunately for you, the new head prosecutor of Los Angeles county who deals with these burglary cases in the San Fernando Valley has a mind to listen to.
He has an open ear and has specifically directed his deputy district attorneys to look at the mitigating factors related to burglary cases in Los Angeles, not just go to prison, not just for a strike. He is looking at other aspects, why these offenders commit these crimes — social things that are going on in the community.
Differences Between Robbery and Burglary?
The difference between a California Penal Code 211 PC robbery and a Penal Code 459 PC burglary depends on the circumstance. A person is typically present in a robbery robbery, a person is typically present when the offender takes the property away from them by force or fear. Whereas with burglary, the offender is stealing property in a residence while the owner is not home.
However, a burglary can also involve the presence of a person. The offender, in this case, is not technically stealing from a person's hand, but it just so happens that a person is present in the home. A robbery is treated more harshly than a burglary because of a person's presence. There is an added danger when someone is present while a theft occurs.
It's much scarier to a person when the robber is present, and the owner is witnessing the robber in action versus no one being home during the crime. Both are violent to a person, but robbery is usually a more severe crime. A first-degree burglary involves residences, while a second-degree burglary involves theft from a store.
A Robbery is usually one degree. However, a more severe robbery, such as a home invasion, is more significant. A home invasion robbery can involve the owners being tied up and injured while their home is being robbed. The prosecutor in a robbery case will take all factors into account when deciding the type of applicable sentence for the defendant.
For instance, if the offender hurt someone with a gun, stabbed them, or performed other violent activity during a robbery, the prosecutors can argue that the robber deserves six years because they were violent and hurt the victim or victims. Any injury can exacerbate the crime and make it more serious.
The more violent a robbery, the stronger the argument can be for the prosecutor to send the offender to prison and grant a longer sentence. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will provide more details below.
Seeking a Lesser Offense in Burglary Cases
Suppose you're charged with a burglary crime, under California Penal Code 459, in Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley. In that case, you'll want to get an attorney who is familiar with these cases and knows how to handle them.
In my experience — having done these cases in the last twenty-five years — the prosecutors and judges typically want prison for anybody charged with burglary – especially if it's residential burglary. The individual will not only be looking at prison time but will be looking at a strike on their record and be in a situation where they get some conviction that will never go away.
So, one big thing we try to do is get the burglary charges reduced to something less. We can do it in some cases. It depends on the circumstances. The worse burglaries, of course, are when somebody goes into somebody's home, and the person is there at the house when they come in, and they have weapons. These are the worse type of cases. These are the most difficult to reduce to something less than a burglary.
Also, if it's a residential burglary, the prosecutors and judges will want a prison in any burglary case. The language that guides them is that you're going to jail on a burglary case – unless there are some unusual circumstances. So, who do you think will be the one who gets those unique circumstances out? Of course, that's going to be your criminal attorney. We've got to show that they don't have a perfect case against you, and it's not the typical burglary case.
Real Burglary Case Example in Van Nuys Court
I did a case recently in the Van Nuys courthouse, and my client was charged with residential burglary. Somebody tried to break into a house and did enough of a break-in to make it a burglary, but the homeowner yelled, so they ran away. But like fools, they left some latex gloves on the ground, and they found my client's fingerprints inside the latex gloves. So, they thought my client was the burglar, and they arrested him. Unbelievably, in my opinion, the prosecutors charged him with burglary.
During the preliminary hearing, I was able to bring out the fact that there's case law that says fingerprints alone are not enough to get somebody for a burglary. Also, handwriting alone is not enough, and DNA alone is not enough.
Once we made that argument, the prosecutors couldn't bring one more thing. In other words, if the homeowner could identify my client as the person who ran away, they'd have one more thing combined with what they had inside the latex gloves, and then they could make a run for a burglary charge. But, once the judge heard this and realized that I was right about it, she dismissed the case.
Different Types of Evidence in Burglary Cases
So, there are different unique things that can happen in these burglary cases. Eye-witness testimony is essential. Physical evidence is necessary — in other words, they catch the person in the house. They capture the person with any of the property, and if they saw the person with the property, how do we know that they didn't just receive the stolen property versus actually being the burglar. The police need to be able to put them in the house.
So, in these significant burglary cases, you've got to get somebody who's defended these types of theft crimes before and who has experience. I've done all sorts of issues. When we meet, I can give you many examples of the burglary cases that I've done in Los Angeles. This will provide you with a feel related to what I think you're up against, what I believe are some of the strategic moves we can make, and what you can do to help me get you the best result in your burglary case.
Criminal Defense Lawyer for PC 459 Burglary Charges
I encourage you to pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I've handled:
- hundreds of burglary cases;
- I've gotten cases dismissed;
- I've gotten cases mitigated, and lesser charged files against my clients.
I've done many things to let you take control of your life, survive for your family and career, and take control of your life.
Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I love to help people just like you to get you back on course and protect everything important to you, including your career, family, and freedom.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal law firm located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.
Burglary Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
So, whether you have a first or second-degree burglary in Los Angeles County, you'll want to have an attorney who knows the courthouse, the prosecutors, the judges, and the way of the land there. I've been doing theft crime cases there — specifically burglary cases, both first and second-degree — for the last 26 years of practicing criminal defense.
We can come up with a different charge, like grand theft person PC 487(c) or some other charges that make sense under the circumstances of your case, or if it's a case where they do not have the evidence against you, we're going to fight this thing in a jury trial, do the investigation and get the result.
If you need help, pick up the phone and make the call. We'll sit down. We'll lay everything out and get a game plan together to succeed in your case. Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.