If you break into a locked vehicle with the intent to steal the car, property inside the car, or commit any other felony inside the vehicle, you have committed car burglary. It is important to recognize that car burglary charges are different than grand theft involving a vehicle or carjacking charges as the vehicle must have been locked when the crime occurred. This is a very serious crime, so if you have been accused of car burglary charges, please call a Vista criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
While most people think of homes when they think about burglary charges, the crime also applies to vehicles and, in fact, the law even includes a specific subsection of codes about vehicle burglary. Similarly, most people assume that auto burglary charges only apply when someone takes something from a vehicle or steals the vehicle itself. Instead, these charges apply any time someone breaks into a vehicle with the intent to steal something or to commit another felony. That means that if someone broke into a car and hid a kidnapping victim in the trunk, they could be charged with auto burglary even if they never took anything and never moved the car. Similarly, someone could be charged with the crime for breaking into a vehicle, opening the glove compartment to find something worth stealing and choosing to leave without taking anything -since they intended to steal something when they broke in. As you can see, these laws can be pretty complex, so if you have any questions, it is best to speak with a Vista defense attorney about your specific case.
The good thing is that because these laws can be so specific, it can sometimes be difficult for the prosecution to make a conviction. For example, if you broke into a car without taking anything or committing a felony, your Vista defense lawyer will require the prosecution prove that you actually intended to do one of those things. Since that is often difficult, you will often be found innocent in those cases. Similarly, if the car wasn’t locked, you can’t be successfully charged with auto burglary.
Because auto burglary is a form of second degree burglary, those charged with the crime could face misdemeanor or felony charges. If the crime is charged as a felony, you could face a sentence of up to three years in prison.
A Vista criminal defense attorney is critical when fighting these types of serious charges. If you have been accused of any type of vehicle theft or burglary charges, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by West Midlands Police