When somebody breaks into another person’s house, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges put this type of a crime among the highest priority crimes for punishing, deterring and making sure that the offender who gets convicted of this burglary-type charge does not do it again. So, this is one of their primary focuses when they deal with these burglary-related offenses, is to make sure the offender never does it again.
Violent Felony vs. Serious Felony Crime
As far as the difference between a person present burglary and a burglary where nobody is home, one is a violent felony and the other is a serious felony. Both are obviously strikes. In one you serve 80% of the time and the other you save 85% of the time. The person-present burglary offense is obviously the more serious one because when somebody breaks into another person’s home and there are people there at the house, this is obviously a much more dangerous scenario where somebody could get shot and killed.
It’s obviously a much more scary scenario too when somebody is coming into your home — your castle — and violating that space. This is something that people never forget and the legislature and the courts obviously realize this, so they make a person-present burglary a violent felony where the person will typically go to prison, serve 85% of the time and will have a strike on their record for the rest of their life in California.
Whereas, the other scenario is also serious where somebody breaks into another person’s home and they’re not there, that’s still a residential burglary. That’s still a strike. The person would typically still be looking at prison unless they can show some sort of unusual circumstances. I recently had a case where somebody broke into a mail room and the prosecutors were trying to claim that was a residential burglary at an apartment complex, which I think is a pretty weak argument, and that’s probably one where we’re going to be able to get rid of the burglary and also avoid prison time for the particular client because it doesn’t have the same issues and problems of breaking into somebody’s home, especially when they’re present — or even when they’re not present.
I mean, you’re invading the sanctity of another individual’s home and that’s really where the legislature and court system has taken issue and really kind of laid down the gauntlet as far as what they’re going to do to people who commit those type of offenses. So, you can expect that they’re going to be angling to try and put a strike on your record, a felony conviction for the rest of your life and send you to prison.
Person-Present Burglary vs. Prison Time
So, this difference between a person-present burglary and one where there is no person present is also huge in the sense that if there’s no person present, you don’t have any criminal record — that’s one where the prosecutors may consider not sending you to prison. Whereas, the person-present it’s much more of a foregone conclusion that these guys are going to be seeking prison time and you’re likely going to have to convince the judge not to send the client to prison if they’ve got the goods and the evidence related to a burglary charge in Los Angeles County or in the San Fernando Valley for that matter.
I’ve handled these burglary charges for the past twenty-five years and I know what the factor area. I know what’s gonna be taken into consideration when they’re deciding whether a person goes to prison, whether they take a strike on their record and what the ramifications are going to be related to the burglary. They’re going to be looking at the person’s prior criminal record. They’re going to be looking at whether somebody was present when the burglary occurred. They’re going to be looking at what type of property was taken — what type of sophistication was involved related to the burglary. I’ve had some burglaries where people are throwing bricks through windows, and then, somebody comes out and they end up running away. Obviously, this is something you don’t want to do, but that’s a far cry from sneaking into somebody’s house in the middle of the night while they’re actually home and taking things, and then there’s some sort of a violent confrontation.
You have to look at both those scenarios. They’re going to both be treated differently. Both are serious, but this starts to give you an idea of which cases the prosecutors are going to demand prison and a strike and which cases they may consider giving the offender a break — as long as they feel, and the court feels — that whatever they do to the person punishes them and is a deterrent for future burglary or future crimes for that person.
Consult with our Criminal Defense Law Firm
One of the biggest things that the prosecutors are typically consider about — and judges as well — is that they give an offender a break on a burglary case, and that same person comes back to commit the exact same offense or something worse. Now they feel like they had the opportunity to seriously punish them and they didn’t do it. Those are the worse cases for judges and prosecutors. When you evaluate criminal defenses cases — burglary charges, person-present, person not present burglary charges — you should be evaluating the from the standpoint of the prosecutor and judge so you can see what their concerns are and that’s what we’re typically doing, and then we address their concerns when we sit down to negotiate with them so that we can put the client in the best possible position. Facing burglary charges? Contact our law firm to review your case.
Hedding Law Firm
San Fernando and Van Nuys Criminal Attorneys
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436