Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Burglary is illegally breaking into someone else’s property with a plan or intention of stealing something from that property. The seriousness of the crime can depend on when and where the crime occurred, whether or not people were present when the crime was committed, and the use (or non-use) of a weapon.
California law defines burglary under Penal Code 459 PC as "entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) once inside".
Although burglary is often referred to as "breaking and entering," prosecutors can charge you with this offense even if there is no forced entry of the structure. Penal Code 459 deleted the "breaking" language...as well as the requirement that the offense be committed during "nighttime" hours...in the late 1800s.
All that is currently required is that you enter a building (or other specified enclosure) with the intent to commit a theft or felony once inside.
Larceny is similar to burglary. Larceny is the taking and carrying away the “tangible personal property of another by trespass with intent to permanently deprive the person of his interest in the property.” Thus, real estate, services and other intangible “properties” cannot be objects of larceny.
The statute of limitations is a “time limit” for the police and prosecutor to file the theft or charges with the court. It is said that the issuance of an arrest warrant “tolls,” or complies with, the statute of limitations. However, if the case was filed in time but not “served” or the person named in the warrant is not arrested in a timely manner, or if not effort was even made by the police to serve the warrant, the fraud or theft case may be eligible to be dismissed.
In general, the statute of limitations for felony burglary is three years. The statute of limitations for misdemeanor burglary is one year.
So, depending upon when the crime occurred in Feb. of 2011, you are running a race against the statute of limitations. And, don't be surprised if the police ask you why you waited so long to file a police report. You need to file a police report. You can explain your reasons for not doing so and the police will determine whether there is enough information/evidence to take to the prosecutor. It is the prosecutor who will determine what, if any, charges will be brought.
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