Burglary

Burglary Defense Lawyer in Riverside

What is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?

Burglary and robbery are two different crimes. Generally speaking, robbery is committed when an individual unlawfully takes something that belongs to someone else. Robbery is only committed if the individual intends to keep what they have taken. On the other hand, burglary occurs when an individual wrongfully enters someone else's home with the intention to commit a crime. For example, burglary might be committed when an individual breaks into an apartment with the intention of stealing the resident's jewelry.

A robbery conviction relies on the intention of the perpetrator. The suspect must specifically intend on taking and keeping something that doesn't belong to him/her. When individuals take something that doesn't belong to them with the intention of keeping it, they may have committed robbery. If the suspect can demonstrate that he/he didn't intend on keeping the item, he/she may not be convicted of robbery. Robbery is considered a felony. Additionally, robbery can only be committed in the presence of the person who owns the property.

In other words, if one individual steals something form another person when they aren't there, robbery has not been committed. Usually, property must be taken from a reasonable distance to qualify robbery. Thus, if an item is stolen from someone's house when he/she is in the other, the perpetrator may still be accused of committing robbery. However, if the owner of the property isn't in the house, the perpetrator may be guilty of a different crime. Unlike robbery, burglary occurs when an individual intends on creating a theft crime inside another person's dwelling.

For example, if an individual breaks into his friend's house to make an emergency phone call but decided to steal some jewelry while inside, he/she may not be guilty of burglary. If caught, the suspect may be accused of theft instead. It is easy to confuse larceny and burglary with each other. Unlike burglary, larceny does not require that the individual broke into a structure. In order to be convicted of burglary, law enforcement must be able to demonstrate forceful entry of someone else's home or building. Larceny does not require this; and is usually considered a lesser offense than burglary or robbery.

Preventing Burglary

Burglary can only be committed in an empty residence. In other words, your house cannot be burglarized when you are home. In some states, burglary can only be committed at nighttime. In 2009, millions of burglaries were reported across the United States. If you are afraid of thieves breaking and entering your home, there are a variety of precautions you can take to make prevent burglars from entering your home while you are gone and stealing your property.

Burglars are less likely to break into well-lit homes. Because they want to be able to enter and exit the building without drawing attention to themselves, installing motion-sensitive lights in your house may deter potential burglars from entering the dwelling. A motion sensor light installed on the outside of your house may be particularly effective. If your house has an alarm system, make sure that you set it when you leave. If you plan on leaving for vacation, ask your neighbor to collect you newspapers and mail for you; criminals know that you aren't home if your mailbox has more than one day of mail in it.

What Are the Penalties for Burglary?

According to the California Penal Code, burglary may be committed in the first or second degree. Any burglary that involves entering an inhabited home or inhabited vessel is burglary in the first degree. All of other types of burglary are committed in the second degree. According to state law, first degree burglary is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for two, four of six years. Second degree burglary is punishable by one year of incarceration in a county jail. Typically, probation is not granted to individual who have committed second degree burglary.

Accused of a Theft Crime?

At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, we are dedicated to criminal defense in Riverside. Facing any criminal charge can be frustrating and intimidating. If you've been accused, you probably have a lot of questions: Do I need a lawyer? What happens if I'm convicted? At the firm, we are ready to help you understand your legal circumstance so that you can make an educated decision about your legal future. If you are found guilty of burglary, you may have difficulty escaping the stigma of a conviction. To see what an attorney from our firm can do for your case, contact us today so we can begin working on an aggressive and effective case strategy to keep your record clean.