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Vista Burglary Defense Lawyers



Dedicated North County Criminal Defense

Entering someone’s home with the intent to commit a crime is “burglary” in California. Depending on the nature of your case, a judge can sentence you to six months in county jail or six years in state prison. These hefty penalties can have a lasting impact on your life long after you have been released. Given how complex California’s theft laws are, you need to trust your defense to an experienced Vista attorney.

If you or someone you love has been charged with burglary in Vista, you should immediately contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys. For more than 30 years, out law firm has worked to defend clients from theft crime charges. We understand how to counter all of the prosecution’s arguments. Our Vista burglary defense attorney can sit down with you in a free, confidential consultation, listen to your side of the story, and work to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to get a free case evaluation.

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Understanding Penal Code 459 PC

As defined under California Penal Code 459 PC, burglary is the act of entering someone else’s property with the intent to commit a felony crime or an act of theft.

This crime is similar to trespassing, but the key element is the defendant’s intent to commit a crime. It does not matter if the defendant actually committed a crime while on the property, only that his goal was to commit another crime, typically theft. Burglary is also distinct from shoplifting, which involves stealing from an open business that the defendant legally entered.

To convict a defendant of burglary, the prosecution must prove that the defendant:

  • Entered someone else’s property;
  • Without the consent of the owner; and
  • Intended to commit a felony or
  • Intended to commit theft.

Burglary can be either first- or second-degree. First-degree burglary, which is the harsher of the two, specifically applies to entering someone else’s “residence,” meaning a place where someone else lives or inhabits, even for a short period of time. A residence can include a:

  • House
  • Hotel or motel room
  • Apartment
  • Tenement
  • Tent
  • Vessel or boat
  • Floating home
  • Trailer coach
  • House car
  • Inhabited camper

For all other properties, the crime is considered second-degree burglary.

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Penalties for a Burglary Conviction

The penalties you can face for a burglary conviction will depend on whether you are facing first- or second-degree burglary charges. Second-degree is a wobbler in California, meaning you can face either misdemeanor or felony penalties. The difference between getting a misdemeanor or felony will come down to your criminal history. Having a prior theft on your record will likely lead the San Diego District Attorney to pursue a felony conviction. If you do not have a prior charge, then you will likely face a misdemeanor.

The penalties for a burglary charge include:

  • Second-Degree Burglary (Misdemeanor): Up to one year in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and summary probation.
  • Second-Degree Burglary (Felony): Up to 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, felony probation, and/or a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.
  • First-Degree Burglary: Up to two, four, or six years in state prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, felony probation, and/or a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

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Building a Strong Defense

The consequences of a conviction can weigh on you for years to come. A misdemeanor may hurt your reputation, but a felony conviction can limit your ability to find work or safe housing upon release. Before you consider accepting a plea deal or trusting in the mercy of court, you should speak to an attorney at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys about your options.

Our legal team has fought for clients throughout Vista and North County in a variety of theft cases. With a charge as serious as burglary, we will use all of our resources and expertise in your defense. Common defenses in burglary cases include:

  • It is a case of mistaken identity, and you were not on the property.
  • You reasonably believed you had a right to be on the property.
  • You had no intent to commit a felony or theft crime.
  • The property was uninhabited or abandoned.
  • You had the consent of the owner to be on the property.
  • The police committed some form of misconduct during your arrest.

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Work With More Than 30 Years of Legal Expertise

Fighting a felony theft charge requires the help of an experienced Vista criminal defense lawyer. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our founding attorney is a Criminal Law Specialist, certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization. He has a 30-year track record of success under his belt. If you bring your case to us, we can review every detail, dismantle the prosecution’s arguments, and advocate for the lightest possible sentence or a complete dismissal on your behalf.

Do not give the prosecution any more time to build a case against you. Call jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000 to discuss your situation in a free consultation.

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James N. Dicks

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