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Charged with Burglary for Entering the Wrong Apartment

Facing a burglary charge after mistakenly entering the wrong apartment in Los Angeles can be an incredibly stressful experience.

Despite having no criminal intent, the gravity of the situation remains, as the prosecution for burglary in the Los Angeles court system is notably aggressive.

When you’re in this situation, it's important to know what to anticipate. The legal process is intimidating, but with knowledge and the right guide, it’s possible to have a positive outcome.

If you’ve been charged with burglary for entering the wrong apartment, hiring a skilled Los Angeles burglary attorney will be helpful to prove your innocence.

An experienced attorney will defend your rights and protect your freedoms. Their strategic approach can be the crucial difference between severe penalties and a more favorable result.

What's the Difference Between Burglary and Breaking and Entering in California?

In California, burglary and breaking and entering are distinct terms and involve different aspects of criminal behavior.

Burglary is defined under California Penal Code Section 459 as entering a residential or commercial structure with the intent to commit a felony. It doesn’t matter if the felony was actually carried out.

It's important to note that "entry" in this context does not require force or "breaking" — simply crossing the threshold of the structure with criminal intent constitutes burglary.

California separates burglary into two degrees: first-degree burglary (residential burglary) and second-degree burglary (commercial burglary).

Both are considered serious offenses, with first-degree burglary being a felony under California's Three Strikes Law.

On the other hand, breaking and entering isn't a specific standalone crime defined by California law.

The term is often used in common language to refer to a range of crimes involving unlawful entry into a building or other structure.

However, if someone unlawfully enters a property but doesn't have the intent to commit a felony or theft, they could be charged with trespass (California Penal Code Section 602), which is a less serious crime than burglary. 

When dealing with any charges related to burglary or unlawful entry, it's critical to consult with a knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney, who can provide advice and representation tailored to the specifics of your case.

What’s the Legal Process for Burglary Charges in Los Angeles?

Facing a burglary charge can be an unnerving experience, especially in the City of Angels where these charges are taken very seriously.

Even a mistaken entry into the wrong apartment can lead to a burglary charge. Understanding the legal process of a burglary charge in Los Angeles is helpful.

The criminal justice process for a burglary case typically includes the following stages: arrest, arraignment, bail hearing, preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, trial, and, if convicted, sentencing.

  • Arrest. When police have reasonable cause to believe you've committed the crime of burglary, you may be taken into custody. 
  • Arraignment. This is the first court appearance where the burglary charges are officially read, and you enter a plea.
  • Bail Hearing. During this hearing, the court determines whether you should be released from jail on bail and the amount that should be set.
  • Preliminary Hearing. The judge assesses whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the trial.
  • Pre-Trial Motions. These are legal motions filed by your defense attorney to exclude or include certain pieces of evidence or to dismiss the case entirely.
  • Trial. If your case reaches this point, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Sentencing. If you're convicted, the court determines the appropriate penalties based on the specifics of your case and California law.

Whether you're charged with a felony or misdemeanor largely depends on the specific circumstances of the crime.

For example, first-degree burglary is always charged as a felony, while second-degree burglary can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Penalties can be severe, with a potential year in county jail for misdemeanor second-degree burglary, and a state prison term for felony burglary charges.

Navigating this complex process can be daunting. Therefore, it's crucial to consult with an experienced burglary defense attorney in Los Angeles, as they can offer guidance and devise a robust legal defense strategy.

Under the California Three Strikes Law, a burglary conviction can have significant long-term consequences, which further underscores the need for a skilled burglary attorney to protect your rights. 

Whether it's challenging the intent to commit a theft or arguing for a reduced bail amount, your attorney's experience and skill are your best line of defense against a burglary charge in Los Angeles.

Making Your Case for Acquittal: Advocacy During the Trial

Preparing Strong Defenses Against Burglary

When charged with burglary, the gravity of facing a trial in Los Angeles, where the prosecution is determined to get a conviction, can seem unbearable.

This is a critical phase, requiring the strategic guidance of a seasoned Los Angeles burglary defense attorney.

Understanding California burglary laws, including distinctions between first-degree and second-degree burglary, is vital for building a strong defense. 

During the trial, the prosecution carries the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This involves the alleged victim correctly identifying you and presenting a consistent, credible account of the events leading to the burglary charge. 

Your Los Angeles defense attorney will proactively challenge the prosecution's case. Through rigorous cross-examination, they will identify and highlight inconsistencies and gaps in the victim's account and other testimonies.

Even minor contradictions or a hint of uncertainty can be enough to create reasonable doubt among the jury.

According to the law in California, reasonable doubt can tilt the scales in your favor, as the jury must be convinced of your guilt beyond this threshold to deliver a conviction.

Your attorney will also introduce evidence to emphasize your lawful intent. If you had mistakenly entered a structure due to incorrect guidance, like receiving the wrong directions from a building landlord, this evidence is critical to proving your innocence.

This not only disputes the assertion of you possessing burglary tools with intent but further solidifies the argument that there was no intent to commit burglary, a key element in proving the crime of burglary.

If deemed strategically beneficial, you may also take the stand to testify in your defense. This allows you to directly communicate your version of events to the jury.

Here, you can detail the circumstances that led to your mistaken entry, emphasizing the absence of criminal intent or any desire for residential burglary.

This personal testimony, combined with the skilled cross-examination of your attorney, forms a robust defense aimed at acquittal.

The quality of your legal defense, particularly the skill of your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, can significantly impact the outcome of your case, from whether you are charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor, to potentially having the charges reduced or even dismissed.

Contact a Los Angeles Burglary Lawyer

#1 Recommended Criminal Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you're facing burglary charges in Los Angeles, contacting an experienced Los Angeles burglary defense attorney should be your first step.

Navigating the complex legal landscape of a burglary charge in Los Angeles is intimidating. The repercussions, ranging from misdemeanors to felony charges for burglary in and around Los Angeles can be life-altering.

However, with the counsel of a seasoned Los Angeles burglary lawyer like William Kroger, you stand the best chance of seeing these charges reduced, or even dismissed.

Attorney Kroger is not just a lawyer; he's a dedicated advocate with a deep understanding of burglary law and its implications in Los Angeles County.

With close to 30 years of experience in defending clients against burglary and other felony charges, his legal knowledge is extensive and proven.

William Kroger is known for his thorough approach to every case, from understanding the charges to formulating robust legal defense strategies.

His skills, years of courtroom experience, and insightful strategies for creating reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury are well respected by judges and other attorneys.

From the moment you are charged, William Kroger's services are all-encompassing.

Attorney Kroger will ensure your rights are protected, help you understand the nature of the charges against you, collect and analyze evidence, and construct a persuasive defense.

Mr. Kroger is a winning trial attorney and doesn’t back down or just accept a plea deal. If it is in your best interest, Attorney Kroger can negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.

Remember, being charged is not the same as being convicted. You are innocent until proven guilty.

You still have the opportunity to fight the charges and protect your future. Contact William Kroger, to begin formulating your defense.

With Attorney Kroger by your side, you'll have a dedicated advocate who's committed to protecting your rights and future.

Call 323-655-5700 or contact Attorney Kroger online by using our contact form today.

Client Reviews

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