You almost never see attempted burglary filed because whenever the authorities think someone’s trying to burglarize a location, it’s so easy to do it, especially a residential burglary. If you break any part of the plain of the home. Burglary in described under California Penal Code 459, and attempted crimes are described under Penal Code 664.
So, I’ve seen people put tools in a home trying to unlock the door, but they never get in. The alarm goes off. The people are home. They run away, whatever the case may be. That’s still a burglary case. It’s the breaking and entering the dwelling house of another with the intent to commit a felony inside.
So, once you break that plain, that’s the breaking part and that shows that you were trying to get into the house to steal something inside, which is a felony and you’re looking at a full-fledged burglary.
Attempted Burglary Requires a Substantial Step to Commit a Crime
So, an attempted burglary would be kind of a weird scenario because most of the time that substantial step that is necessary to actually effectuate the crimes versus you were just thinking about doing it, is going to be you actually going up to the house and breaking partially or getting partially in and then running away.
So, it would have to be a scenario where the authorities can prove that you were trying to break into a home for example, if it’s a residential attempted burglary, but that you never broke the plain or you know, did anything in regard to that.
Other examples of burglary would be like a second-degree burglary where you are trying to break into a car or a store or something like that and you don’t effectuate it, so it is not a full-fledged burglary like it would be if you actually went into the location with the intent to steal.
So, with attempted burglary, the key language in any attempt crime is did you take a substantial step towards trying to commit the crime. So, then you get in an argument over what actually is a substantial steps, and of course, a lot of this stuff is going to depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case.
Just because it looks like somebody may want to rob or burglarize a location, doesn’t necessarily mean that they wanted to. You actually have to show proof that they took some sort of a step towards doing so. Let’s say that somebody had a mask. It was late at night. They jumped over somebody’s fence.
They had a bag to take away all the goodies. They had a crowbar to break the door, and then they got cold feet and ran away. But if they got caught in the perimeter of that house, that’s going to be attempted burglary because now you’ve taken a substantial step towards committing that burglary and you’re going to put yourself in a position where the authorities are going to be able to arrest you and prosecute you for that.
Attempting to Commit a Burglary Crime, But Don’t Complete it
So, the bottom line if you just look at it in layman’s terms of what a Penal Code Section 459/664 which is the attempted burglary charge for Los Angeles, it has to do with does it look like someone is attempting to commit a crime but they just don’t get away with the crime for one reason or another. Maybe somebody spots them. Maybe somebody yells at them.
Maybe someone’s home at a residence and they realize it so they run away. There are a whole bunch of different circumstances. But in the end, if a jury looks at this and they evaluate it, are they going to believe that the person was going to commit a burglary but they just didn’t do it for some reason.
If the answer is yes and they can prove it, they can get you for attempted burglary. If it’s questionable — maybe the person had some innocent reason for whatever it is they were doing, then you might be able to try to present a defense to the attempted burglary charge and say no, I wasn’t trying to do that.
I was trying to do this and this is lawful. Just because you think I might have been doing something wrong is not enough to get me for the attempted burglary.
Categorised in: Burglary