What are 5 Legal Defenses to Residential Burglary? PC 459

January 24, 2023

Residential burglary, as defined under California Penal Code 459, is the unauthorized entry into a residence with the intent to commit a felony or theft. It is considered a serious crime and can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment. However, there are several defenses that can be raised by the accused in order to challenge the charges and potentially reduce or dismiss the case.

Lack of intent

One of the key elements of residential burglary is intent. The prosecution must prove that the accused intended to commit a felony or theft at the time of the entry. If the accused can show that they did not have this intent, they may be able to avoid a conviction. For example, if the accused entered the residence by mistake or under duress, they may not have had the intent to commit a crime.

Mistaken identity

Another defense that can be raised is mistaken identity. The prosecution must prove that the accused was the person who committed the crime. If the accused can show that they were not the person who entered the residence, they may be able to avoid a conviction. For example, if the accused can provide an alibi or if there is no physical evidence linking them to the crime.

Claim of Right

A bona fide claim of ownership or right of possession, whether based on a mistake of fact or law, is a defense to burglary. It must be shown that the target offense was to commit a theft crime which the person believed had a claim of right to. The rationale under this defense stems from the fact that a person cannot intend to steal property that they reasonably believe to be their own.

Consent

A defense that can be raised is that the accused had consent to enter the residence. For example, if the accused had permission to be in the residence, they may not have committed the crime of residential burglary.

Illegal search and seizure

The last defense that can be raised is that the evidence against the accused was obtained through an illegal search and seizure. If the police obtained evidence in violation of the accused’s Fourth Amendment rights, the evidence may be excluded from trial. This can weaken the prosecution’s case and potentially lead to a dismissal of the charges.

Contact Us for Help in Southern California

It’s important to note that these defenses are not applicable in every case and it depends on the specific facts of the case. It’s also important to consult with a criminal defense attorney who can help evaluate the case and determine the best defense strategy. Call the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today to schedule a free confidential consultation.

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