Breaking and entering is a serious charge, possibly a misdemeanor, which can carry hefty fines and lengthy jail or probation sentences for those who are convicted.
While “breaking and entering” is not a specific crime in California (evidence of forced entry, or breaking, is no longer required for related charges), the concepts of breaking into and entering someone else’s property are usually associated with other criminal offenses.
Here are three circumstances where a criminal attorney can most likely help the person who is being charged:
- Burglary – According to California Penal Code 459, burglary is entering someone else’s property with the intent of committing a felony or petty theft once inside. Because burglary can be classified as a misdemeanor, a criminal lawyer should represent the person being charged with the burglary crime.
- Trespassing – Even if a person enters the property of someone else and they do not take anything, the person has committed the crime of trespassing. According to California Penal Code 602, this can include intent to damage property, intent to interfere or obstruct business activities, occupying the property without permission, or refusing to leave the property after being asked to do so. Trespassing can also be considered a criminal misdemeanor, so an attorney should be consulted.
- Vandalism – According to California Penal Code 594, vandalism includes defacing, damaging, or destroying another’s property. Even if the criminal breaks into the property but leaves immediately, he or she can still be charged with vandalism associated with “breaking” activities. These types of crimes should be discussed with a criminal lawyer.
Even though breaking and entering is no longer a specific crime in the state of California, the act of entering a property without permission is itself a crime. The intents of that action – be it damage, theft, or the like – are still punishable by law and can carry some devastating consequences.
For the best legal advice on crimes associated with breaking and entering, please get a referral to a criminal lawyer from the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) of San Diego County.