A property crime charge can incur fines and jail time and also make it hard to get a job or a loan. Whether the charge that you are facing involves wrongfully entering the property of someone else or destroying the property of someone else, our Los Angeles property crimes attorneys are here to help.
What Is a Property Crime?
The National Institute of Justice defines a property crime as a crime in which “a victim’s property is stolen or destroyed, without the use or threat of force against the victim.” Common property crimes usually include:
- Criminal trespassing
If you’re not sure whether you are guilty of a property crime or what you can do about your charge, a property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can answer your questions. We offer free initial consultations, so you can learn what the next steps could be for your case before you hire one of our attorneys.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 928-9347
What Is Criminal Trespassing?
In Los Angeles, and throughout California, trespassing is usually charged as a minor “infraction” that results in a small fine. However, there are situations in which a person can be charged with criminal trespassing, which is much more serious.
Criminal trespassing occurs when a person enters the property of someone else with the intent to interfere with the property and damage the property.
Though a verbal threat can aggravate the charge, typical trespassing charges are brought when a person refuses to leave the property when asked, when a person is trying to disrupt a business operation, or when a person is “squatting” or illegally occupying a location.
It should be noted that trespassing can be charged even if the actual interference or damage does not occur. It is the intent that is important, but intent can be very difficult to prove in court. Our criminal defense attorneys can help you devise the appropriate defenses to these charges, including:
- You were allowed on the premises
- No actual interference or damage occurred
- You did not intend to interfere or damage property
If you’ve been accused of trespassing, a Los Angeles property crimes attorney from the Simmrin Law Group could be able to help you get out of the severe consequences of your charge. Get a free initial consultation to see what your options are.
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Burglary in Los Angeles
Burglary can be considered a more serious version of criminal trespassing, and the two are often charged together. However, burglary has two main components:
- Entering another person’s property
- Intending to commit a crime on another person’s property
As with criminal trespassing, one of the key components of a burglary charge in Los Angeles is intent. Since this can be difficult for prosecutors to prove, our criminal defense attorneys can work to challenge the prosecution’s case. Some common defenses of burglary include:
- Lack of evidence
- Problematic evidence that must be excluded
- Mistaken identity
- The property you intended to take was actually your own property.
A burglary lawyer in Los Angeles from our firm could be able to argue your charge down using these defenses. This could reduce the penalties put on you or even convince the judge to dismiss your case.
What Is the Difference Between Burglary, Theft, and Robbery?
Burglary, theft, and robbery are three crimes that are often misconstrued by those who don’t have experience in criminal defense law. While they can overlap, knowing the difference between the three crimes is important:
- Theft, also known as larceny, is the act of taking someone else’s property with the intention of permanently depriving them of said property.
- Burglary does not necessarily have to involve theft at all, though it usually does. It is the act of breaking and entering into someone else’s property with the intent to commit a crime.
- Robbery does always involve theft—it’s the act of stealing something from someone else using either force or the threat of force.
The crime that is intended during a burglary can be either petty theft or felony burglary, both of which carry different consequences. If you’ve been accused of burglary, a property crimes attorney in Los Angeles may be able to reduce your charge to petty theft or even completely exonerate you.
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Crimes Involving the Destruction of Property
Destroying property that does not belong to you can be a serious offense in Los Angeles. However, our criminal defense lawyers have plenty of experience dealing with these charges. The two main forms of this charge are arson and vandalism.
What Are the Different Types of Arson in L.A.?
Our L.A. property crimes lawyers have extensive knowledge of arson charges. Almost always charged as a felony offense, arson can come in two forms:
- Malicious arson (which is always a felony)
- Reckless burning (which, occasionally, can be a misdemeanor)
The difference between the two charges, which are spelled out in the California Penal Code § 450, is that malicious arson involves the intent to defraud a person, harm or kill them, or purposefully destroy their property. This is the more serious charge, and it can result in up to 14 years in prison as well as high fines and permanent convicted felon status.
With such harsh punishment at stake, your best option is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Counts As Vandalism in California?
Vandalism can involve the stereotypical spray paint can, but the charge can include a variety of other activities as well. For example, a charge of vandalism in Los Angeles can result from:
- Keying a car
- Writing messages in wet cement
- Egging a house
A charge of vandalism can result from defacing, destroying, or damaging property that does not belong to you, and the law can be interpreted very loosely. For this reason, it is best to have a knowledgeable property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles from Simmrin Law Group on your side who can challenge the charge on numerous grounds.
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Penalties for Property Crimes in Los Angeles
Unfortunately, penalties for property crimes in Los Angeles can be very harsh depending on your charge. On top of the fines, jail time, and a suspended license, your charge will stay on your criminal record if you’re not able to get it dismissed.
Felony burglary and petty theft come with different penalties in California. While the petty theft version of burglary may lead to a maximum of one year in county jail, felony burglary can involve up to 6 years in prison as well as convicted felon status, up to $10,000 in fines, and a strike toward the “three-strikes” law.
Being convicted of vandalism is not ideal, as it can result in the following penalties:
- Minimum: Up to $1,000 fine and community service
- Maximum: Three years in state prison, fines, suspended driver’s license, community service
While these are the possible penalties, you may not have to serve the full extent of them. A property crimes attorney in Los Angeles may be able to negotiate with the prosecution and get them to reduce your charge. That may include having you take classes or carry out community service as a part of your deal.
Contact Our Los Angeles Property Crimes Attorneys for FREE
Property crimes can carry hefty penalties, but many of the charges require clear intent to be proven in court. Los Angeles property crimes lawyers Simmrin Law Group have experience challenging all the elements of a case in order to have the charges dropped or lowered to lesser penalties.
If you are charged with a property crime, contact our criminal defense experts today for a FREE consultation to discuss your case. Simply fill out the form to the right of the page or call us today.