WHAT CONSTITUTES AUTO BURGLARY?

Posted on: June 3, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 459

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn California, you can be charged with auto burglary under California Penal Code 459 if you break into a locked vehicle or the trunk of a vehicle with the intent to commit grand theft auto, steal property from inside the vehicle, or commit some other felony once you’ve gained access to the vehicle. For the burglary statute to apply, there must be evidence of forced entry into a locked vehicle. Simply opening an unlocked vehicle – by itself – is not be enough to constitute auto burglary.

Auto burglary is usually prosecuted as second-degree burglary, and in California, the charge is a “wobbler,” which means it may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the details of the case and the suspect’s prior convictions. A conviction for misdemeanor auto burglary can land you in jail for up to a year, but if you’re convicted of felony auto burglary, you could be sent to prison for up to three years. Of course, being charged doesn’t mean that you’ll be convicted; a prosecutor must still prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney can use a number of legal tools to fight the charge on your behalf. Someone accused of auto burglary may offer defenses including but not limited to:

  • You believed the automobile was yours and no burglary was intended.
  • You were retrieving items or property that are, in fact, yours.
  • You’ve been misidentified and someone else committed the crime.
  • The entire story was a fabrication and no auto burglary occurred.

If you are suspected and arrested for auto burglary in Orange County, politely exercise your right to remain silent, and insist on your right to have an attorney present during any questioning. As quickly as possible, get the legal help you’ll need and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

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