If you watch a lot of TV, you’ve almost certainly seen police arresting people for “breaking and entering,” but the thing is, that’s not actually a crime in California. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just go around breaking into people’s homes and businesses. Here are the charges you might face instead courtesy of San Diego breaking and entering lawyer Peter M. Liss.
The Crime is Burglary, Not Breaking and Entering
One of the most common charges brought up against those who have broken into a property is burglary. Burglary can be charged against someone who has broken into a residence, car or business. Residential burglary is a felony crime and can be punished by up to six years in prison. Even a garage is considered to be part of a home and in many cases, unoccupied homes can be still considered residential properties when it comes to burglary charges.
Under California’s burglary laws though, it’s worth noting that you do not actually have to break in to a property to commit the crime. While you do not need to have forced entry into a property to be charged with burglary, the prosecution does need to prove that you intended to either commit petty theft or any type of felony. If your San Diego breaking and entering attorney can show that there is insufficient evidence to prove you meant to steal or commit a felony, you cannot be charged with burglary.
Illegal Entry is Trespassing
The other charge most commonly brought against people who have broken into a property is trespassing. This is a somewhat complex set of laws in California as some forms of trespassing are infractions punishable by little more than a fine, whereas aggravated trespassing is a felony crimes that can carry a prison sentence of up to three years. If you have been charged with trespassing, it is vital you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not say anything that may hurt your defense.
If you have been charged with any crime related to breaking and entering in San Diego, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top theft attorney Peter M. Liss.