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're going to 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, in any burglary case – if it's a residential burglary – the prosecutors and judges will want prison. The language that pretty much guides them is, 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 inside the latex gloves, they found my client's fingerprints. 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 and 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 the 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 all sorts of 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.

Consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer

So, make the call now. We'll go ever everything. I'll give you an idea. Well, talk about whether it's a first-degree or a second-degree burglary and whether any alternate charges can be utilized in the case if the prosecutors have some extraordinary evidence that you've committed a crime.

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.

Related:
Defense of Burglary Cases in the San Fernando Valley
How Can You Get a Not Guilty Verdict in a Burglary Case?