Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary or robbery, you should be aware that it is a serious charge with potentially far-reaching consequences. If convicted, you will have a criminal record for life and you could lose your freedom and other rights. You will need effective, personalized representation from a skilled Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights and advocate for your interests.

At Andrade Law Offices, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors. They know how prosecutors build cases and the types of arguments that will be persuasive when negotiating with prosecutors to help a client resolve criminal charges. Our team has handled thousands of cases and knows how to advocate aggressively for clients to minimize disruption to your liberty and ability to work.

If you have been charged with a crime, we are ready to help. For a free case review, contact us today!

California Penal Code § 459: Burglary

Burglary can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor under California law, depending on how it is charged. Based on a client's record and the specifics of the case, it is sometimes possible to have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

California Penal Code § 459 defines burglary as entering a house, apartment, trailer, camper, tent, store, warehouse, cargo container, floating home, or aircraft with the intent to commit larceny. Burglary of an inhabited dwelling or vessel, whether or not occupied at the time, is considered first degree burglary, a felony.

If you are convicted of first degree burglary, the court may impose a sentence of two to six years in state prison. You stand to lose your freedom, so it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled burglary and robbery defense cases. You need a lawyer with a proven record of protecting clients' rights in the face of these complex, serious charges.

California law makes a distinction between burglary and shoplifting. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor and involves entering a commercial business during regular business hours and taking or intending to take property valued at $950 or less. A person may not be charged with burglary and shoplifting of the same property.

Robbery Charges & Penalties

Robbery involves the use or threat of physical force during the stealing of property. It's classified as a violent felony and therefore carries harsher penalties than burglary. Burglary does not include threatening violence or putting someone in fear of their safety in order to steal property.

California Penal Code §§ 211-214 define robbery as forcibly taking personal property from a person by use of physical force or by instilling fear of injury to the person or a member of the person's family. If a person breaks into an occupied home, then forcibly takes property after assaulting or threatening the occupants, this constitutes robbery. Robbery may be charged in the first degree or second degree, but is typically a felony.

Any robbery of a person in an inhabited dwelling or who is using an automatic teller machine (ATM) or is in the vicinity of an ATM machine is considered first degree burglary. Robbery of a bus driver, taxi driver, or trolley car operator also is first degree robbery. A conviction of first degree robbery carries a prison sentence of up to nine years as well as fines. An individual convicted of using a gun in a robbery is subject to a longer prison sentence of 10 years or longer. If you cause another person to sustain a substantial injury in the course of a robbery, this may lead to an enhanced prison sentence upon conviction.

The law requires the prosecutor to show that a person charged with robbery intended to steal property that was owned by another and used force or fear. Proving intent and the use of force can be problematic for prosecutors and the charges can unravel if the use of force can be successfully called into question.

Assessing Weakness in Burglary and Robbery Cases

As former prosecutors, our attorneys are skilled at analyzing the prosecution's case to spot its weaknesses. The prosecutor in your case may have only heard law enforcement's version of events and may be unaware of the complete picture. You may believe wholeheartedly that you were entitled to the property in question.

If you work with a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at our firm, we will investigate the case and present evidence that may prompt a prosecutor or court to reduce or throw out the charges. A burglary or robbery charge may be based on the word of an unreliable police informant or on evidence obtained during an illegal search. Andrade Law Office may be able to file a successful motion to suppress evidence seized during an illegal search to have the charges dismissed. We may be able to challenge the credibility of a police informant.

Some people are charged with burglary or robbery based on a case of mistaken identity or false accusations. In some cases, it is possible to get charges dismissed by paying restitution. You may have valid reasons as to why you were in a dwelling. Our attorneys are well known for their skill and success in the courtroom. In fact, founding attorney Steven Andrade has been named as one of the National Trial Lawyers' Top 100 Trial Lawyers. While we always try to resolve cases ahead of trial, we are ready to take a defensible case to trial.

Our Former Prosecutors Are on Your Side

Steven Andrade is a former prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General. Together, Steven has decades of trial experience and a strong track record of obtaining favorable settlements and jury verdicts.I f you have been charged with robbery or burglary in Santa Barbara County, you are facing a serious charge and you need serious legal representation to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf.

It's important to exercise your right to remain silent when questioned by police and to contact a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney right away. If we are not immediately available, we will return your call within an hour.

Call Andrade Law Offices at (805) 962.4944 today!