Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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What state did this happen in?
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California Penal Code Sec. 459, Burglary states as follows:
459. Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement,shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or otherbuilding, tent, vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors andNavigation Code, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) ofSection 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, railroad car, lockedor sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle,trailer coach, as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, anyhouse car, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, inhabitedcamper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, vehicle asdefined by the Vehicle Code, when the doors are locked, aircraft asdefined by Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code, or mine or anyunderground portion thereof, with intent to commit grand or petitlarceny or any felony is guilty of burglary. As used in thischapter, "inhabited" means currently being used for dwellingpurposes, whether occupied or not. A house, trailer, vessel designedfor habitation, or portion of a building is currently being used fordwelling purposes if, at the time of the burglary, it was notoccupied solely because a natural or other disaster caused theoccupants to leave the premises.
The crime that you are charged with is Burglary in the second degree.
California Penal Code Sec. 461 states that Burglary in the Second Degree is punishable by imprisonmnt in the county jail not to exceed one year or in the state prison.
If this is your first offense, it is very possible that if you are convicted, you will get probation. However, I cannot make any guarantees. You would be placed on probation for a length of time (for example 1 year). It may be reporting probation--where you report to a probation officer, or non-reporting--you do not have to report to a probation officer.
Many terms can be placed on your probation. For example, you may not be able to leave the state without permission of the court. You can't get arrested or convicted of any other crime while you are on probation. You may have to take a theft class. You may be told to stay out of Penneys while you are on probation. You may have to pay fines and costs and pay money to Penneys. You may have to complete your high school diploma or GED (if you don't already have one) You may have to maintain a job or be actively looking for a job. The judge may put some of these, all of these, and even other terms on your probation within his/her discretion and within the law.
If you are found to have violated any term of probation, you could be put in jail for up to a year.
When you go to court, the judge will read you the charge and the possible penalties. S/he will also give you your constitutional rights, including a right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, you can ask for a public defender to be appointed to represent you.
You should be represented by a lawyer, either one that you hire, or a court appointed one. It is possible that the lawyer can enter into a plea bargain with the prosecutor where you can plea guilty to a lesser offense, or get a recommendation of no jail.
If you want to talk to a lawyer before you go to court, you can contact your local bar association for a referral to a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. It will probably give you 2 or 3 names. You can contact the attorney(s) for a telephone consultation, or ask to set up an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case. Sometimes, these consultations are free.
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