In Santa Clarita, CA, there are several different crimes that fall under the category of property crimes. For instance, crimes like arson and vandalism relate to the intentional defacing or damaging of another person’s property. Trespassing, or entering onto another person’s property without his or her permission, is also a crime, as is burglary, or the theft of another person’s property.
When it comes to property crimes, the punishment depends largely on the value of the property at issue and the method used to commit the crime. You may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime. Read on to find out more or fill out our contact form to schedule a FREE consultation with a property crimes lawyer in Santa Clarita.
Arson is the act of setting a person’s property on fire. Such property can be a person’s land, home or business, or other personal belongings. Arson is punished severely in Santa Clarita. In fact, many people do not realize that arson is regularly charged as a felony. There are two laws related to arson in the state of California:
- Malicious Arson – Of the two, malicious arson is the more serious and is almost always charged as a felony right off the bat.
- Reckless Burning – Reckless burning can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, but it almost always carries a penalty of jail time.
It may be possible to reduce your charges or even see your case thrown out due to a lack of evidence. An experienced property crimes lawyer can review your case and may be able to negotiate a better deal – or even a flat-out dismissal of your case.
Burglary is the act of entering any building, vehicle, or some other structure (i.e. a room or locker), with the intent to commit a crime, and it would be punishable as either a felony or petty theft. You do not have to break into a structure to be convicted of burglary. The only time forced entry is considered separately is when it pertains to vehicles.
You also do not need to steal anything to be charged with burglary. You simply need to enter a structure with the intention of committing a crime. If someone leaves their door unlocked, for example, and you enter their home – even if you don’t even touch anything – this may be enough to convict you. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depends on whether the crime was committed at a residence or place of business.
Criminal trespassing is a serious offense in that it refers to a person entering onto someone’s property with the intent to damage or otherwise interfere with it. However, criminal trespassing is one of those gray areas that often leads to people being wrongly charged. This is particularly concerning when you take into consideration that a criminal trespassing conviction can include up to six months in jail or even be upgraded to a felony.
Some trespassing violations are more serious than others. For instance, if you enter onto someone’s property without their permission, this is not treated as a criminal offense at all, but rather as an infraction carrying a fine of between $75 to $100. Where things turn criminal is when a person enters onto another person’s property with the intent to (and/or carry out) damage or otherwise interfere with it.
Squatting on someone’s property is considered an act of criminal trespassing, as is refusing to leave a person’s property when asked to do so. It is also considered an act of criminal trespassing if you are asked to leave a public building after the building has closed, and you refuse to leave.
You may think vandalism is kid’s stuff, but even an act of graffiti is treated seriously in Santa Clarita. And, of course, vandalism isn’t just limited to graffiti. Other acts of vandalism can include things as seemingly innocent or mild as:
- Keying someone’s car.
- Writing your name in wet cement.
- Removing a religious structure.
- Breaking something that belonged to your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Vandalism is defined as defacing, damaging, or otherwise destroying another person’s property. A prosecutor only needs to prove one of these things to secure a conviction. Because damaging or defacing can be interpreted a number of ways, this is another gray area where many individuals are wrongly or unfairly convicted of a more severe crime.
Typically, damages over $400 are prosecuted as a felony, while damages amounting to $250 or less are written up as an infraction, which is the equivalent of a traffic ticket. We firmly believe that California’s vandalism laws are unfair – which is why we want to help you fight them.
Facing Charges? We Can Help!
Have you been arrested and charged with a property crime? At Simmrin Law Group, we will defend you like you were a member of our own family. Our Santa Clarita criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience helping our clients defend cases just like yours.
Reach out today for a FREE consultation with of our experienced lawyers. You can fill out our contact form, or call (310) 997-4688 today to reach a property crimes lawyer who can answer your questions with no obligation to retain. Let us help you fight!