Can they make the burglary charge stick? 74 Answers as of June 02, 2013

While I was with my girlfriend at a store she shoplifted. She is 16 and I am 18. Apparently she was seen by a plain clothed security officer putting shoes in a bag. As we started to exit the store, we were stopped and asked to come with them where they proceeded to check her bag and state they had seen her shoplift. The police came and I was taking immediately with the officer to the jail and she remained there and was questioned without the presence of her mother where they also searched her mother’s vehicle, which we were in where they found my wallet, which had money in it. They charged me with burglary as well for being present with her. How can I be charged with burglary when I did not shoplift it was her and she was the only one seen nor was there any camera footage.it was just the eyewitness’ account of the security officer. I am being implicated because I was there, I was considered the adult, and they say burglary because my wallet was in the vehicle, which I honestly forgot in the console. Can they make the burglary charge stick?

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Law Office of Michael R. Garber
Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
Based on the facts you stated you're not guilty of burglary. Simple burglary is the unauthorized entry into a building or vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or theft. If you were authorized to enter your girlfriend's vehicle there is no burglary. Even if you entered the vehicle without authorization if you didn't intend to commit a felony or theft in the vehicle it's not burglary.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 3/30/2012
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
You were not charged with burglary for being with her while she shoplifted. There is more to the allegation than that, for sure. You definitely need to hire a lawyer who will have access to all the allegations.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/5/2012
Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
This is a very unusual fact pattern for a burglary charge. In Washington, a burglary charge (which is a felony) requires that the State prove that someone was in a place they weren't supposed to be and that they had an intent to commit a crime while there. Perhaps the charge is actually theft? If the State (or city) believes that you were assisting your girlfriend in shoplifting somehow, they could charge you as an accomplice. You should have an experienced local criminal defense attorney help you review the police reports to determine your risks and options. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 2/27/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
First thing to do is no not speak with the police! 2nd - Hire a good defense lawyer. Every case is unique in some way and all facts and evidence must be looked at in each case to advise clients and anyone who does it differently is not worth listening to. If you can't afford an attorney have the court appoint one for you but somehow, get representation. In life, if you just tell the truth and take responsibility for your wrongs, everything typically works out. NOT with the law. Be careful.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 2/17/2012
The Law Offices of Laura A. Walker | Laura A. Walker
That's retail theft, party to a crime, not burglary.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 2/17/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Security will almost always charge both pesons with shoplifting when one of the persons committes an act of shoplifting. They consider that one is a principal the other is an accessory. You will have to prove you had nothing to do with this and that you did not konow what the pther person did.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/16/2012
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    You are being charged as an accomplice. You need to get an attorney, plead not guilty, and fight the case. Most likely they will offer you a deal that is acceptable but, if not, then you will simply have to put forth your defense. It would help if the girl would be willing to state that you had nothing to do with it but, even if she doesn't, sounds like you have a good chance of convincing the DA that you were not involved. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/16/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You could be considered an accessory. But, if you really had no idea then you're innocent and might want to fight it to the bitter end.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    You are presumed innocent. You have a right to council. Simply because you were charged with an offense does not mean that you will be found guilty of anything. The prosecutor must prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. You never have to accept any plea-deal and you have a right to a trial to contest the charges. I'd recommend you retain a lawyer or request that the court appoint you a lawyer payable at the public's expense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Gregory C. Graf
    Gregory C. Graf | Gregory C. Graf
    An attorney has to evaluate the prosecution's evidence versus what you say happened. If the prosecution's evidence is exactly the same as your version of the facts, i.e. you were just standing there and no one saw or heard you participate and your co-defendant is not saying you were part of the shoplifting; you should win at trial. Whether the case is dismissed prior to trial depends on what County you are charged in. If the police version is the same as your version, Denver will most likely dismiss the case. Arapahoe/Douglas County would take this all the way to the day of trial regardless of the evidence. Every jurisdiction is different and each individual prosecutor is different.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    A burglary requires an unauthorized entry into premises or remaining within premises with the intent to commit a felony or a theft therein. Anything which does not include all these elements would not be a burglary. The event you described would normally be a shoplifting or a petit theft charge. A person can be charged even if they do not actually commit the theft, if it can be shown they knew of the theft by another.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Attorney at Law | Dorinda Ohnstad
    They could make them stick if a jury believes that the two of you were in it together. That you went into the store with the intent to steal something. However, a jury could also believe that you didn't know what she was doing.? Did the witness see you watch her put them in the bag and do nothing or say nothing? If so, there is a reasonable argument that you were a willing participant. Did she have a wallet, purse, money or ATM or credit card on her with the ability to pay? If so, then there is the possibility of reducing to a misdemeanor petty theft charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    I don't think your wallet being inside your GF's mother's car led to the burglary charge against you, I think it's being based upon accomplice liability. It sounds like - to the plain-clothes dick - it appeared the two of you were working in concert, as a team. Think about it: If 2 dudes decide to rob a necklace, and do, and get caught, one can't say "I didn't steal it because I didn't actually carry it out of the store." which is kind of what you're saying. Of course you can be charged with burglary w/o actually taking an item yourself....Know what burglary is - the tresspassory asportation of another's property with the specific intent to permanently deprive them of it. There are a lot of ways to attack the charge. And it can only be attempted burglary, right, since a burglary did not happen? Should be a larceny charge instead of a burglary. Anyway, your mental state is a defense - you were not in on it. You did not specifically intend to take the shoes from their rightful owner and permanently deprive that owner of those shoes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Burglary of what? Are they cvlaiming you stole the car from the mother? If the store was open then they can't charge you with burglary of the store. You need an attorney to get the police reports and help you fight the case. Just being with her does not make you guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Based purely upon what you said, charging you with actual theft may be difficult; however, if you were there and you appear to have been aiding her (running interference to distract the store clerks) you could well be charged. I certainly do not know enough about the facts, or what the police reports say, or whether an undercover store detective witnessed the theft, to tell you for sure. You should really retain the services of an attorney in your area, who can more thoroughly review the facts of your case and the police reports.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Ross Scaccia Attorney at Law | Ross Scaccia
    Burglary is the 'unauthorized entry into a building (or a vehicle - car, boat, etc.) with the intent to commit a 'theft' therein. this is a nice question for a law student . The theory would be that you entered the building (store) to commit a theft or a therein, La.R.S. 14:62, et seq., using the girl. But, that won't work. No, but you could be a principal to theft, being a principal to a crime is the same as committing the crime itself, you must have guilty knowledge, of course - like you knowingly aided, assisted the girl. Your penalty for the crime of theft, depends on the value of what she (and you, as a principal to the crime ) stole, and your age - you are an adult, she is a juvenile; of course theft under $100.00 carries one penalty, theft between 100.00 and 500.00, another penalty, and theft over 500.00 another see R.S. 14: 67 et seq.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    It's not burglary. It's theft. Sounds like you got a way out, but the DA will not speak with you. You need to hire the best attorney you can afford and fight this.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Based upon the facts you relate, I assume that your girlfriend has been charged with theft and you with aiding and abetting theft. The state would need to prove that you knew that she was shoplifting and that you did something to aid her in committing theft. Sometimes the "aiding" is as simple as acting as a lookout, intentionally obstructing the view of loss prevention officers or driving the getaway car. If the state cannot prove that you somehow aided her, it will be difficult to prove guilt. That does not mean that the state will not try to stick you. You need representation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Probably not unless you were an accomplice. If you aided, encouraged, facilitated or commanded your girlfriend in her crime, you would be an accomplice. If you had no idea and they can't prove you did, they probably can't make it stick. Also, if you were away from the car when the cops searched it, it was an illegal search unless they had consent to search or a warrant. Finally, it is an urban myth that a juvenile cannot be questioned by a cop without a parent present. That's why they read a suspect her rights. As long as they did that, it was up to you and your girlfriend to remain silent and request an attorney. If the store security guy saw the theft, it won't make any difference. Your girlfriend is probably toast.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    You are apparently correct that this does not make sense, unless they are talking about a burglary warrant for a different incident.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Speaker Law Firm
    Speaker Law Firm | Theodore Speaker
    I would say no. Plead not guilty and state the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    To prove the charge against you, they have to show that you had knowledge of the theft and that you did something to help the help thing can be really easy to prove if they can prove knowledge so maybe.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Toivonen Law Office | John Toivonen
    In Michigan burglary is defined in MCL 750.110. It states, "A person who breaks and enters, with intent to commit a felony or a larceny therein, a tent, hotel, office, store, shop, warehouse, barn, granary, factory or other building, structure, boat, ship, shipping container, or railroad car is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years." This means that a person must break, and enter a building with the intent to commit a felony at the time of the breaking and entering. If the person breaks and enters, and then after getting inside of the building he decides to commit a felony it is not a burglary. For the crime that you have described to constitute a burglary it would have to occur when the store was closed. What you have described is retail fraud or shoplifting. Based on these facts it does not appear to me that anyone committed burglary. Check the actual charge because you may have been charged with retail fraud. If you have been charged with retail fraud, the prosecutor may have done this in an attempt to encourage you to testify against your girlfriend. As to your wallet being in a car, there is no law against leaving your wallet in a car. Neither of you should talk to the police. Invoke your right to silence, and legal counsel. Tell police that you have a right to not speak with them, and a right to an attorney. Never listen to police when they tell you that they are trying to help you. They are trying to help the prosecution build a case that can be used to convict you. Hire an attorney as soon as possible. From what you have described, the police have nothing to connect you to a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Ipson Law Firm, PLLC
    Ipson Law Firm, PLLC | Michael Ipson
    It doesn't make sense that they would charge you with burglary based on the facts you have indicated below. I would speak to a defense attorney immediately to see what evidence they have against you that would make them think they can charge you with burglary and see how they can get it dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    I do not understand a burglary charge. If your girlfriend told the police that you knew she was stealing you could be charged as an accessory to the theft. If she was advised that she could have a parent present and declined then they could question her.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C.
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C. | Wayne Brucar
    They can convict you by accountability - if you in any way solicited, aided or abetted in the crime.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
    Yes, you are right it could stick.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    It depends on what type of evidence the prosecution possesses and is that evidence sufficient to prove the elements of the crime charged. This is often referred to as the "weight of the evidence." If the State has sufficent evidence to prove the charges you may want to consider negociating a plea with the prosecution. If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence then a jury trial may be the way to go. The weight of the evidence is something that should be assessed by an attorney when you are making this decision and if you do not have an attorney by now then you need to seek one out.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    It sounds like you are in a whole heap of trouble facing a felony conviction that could cause substantial jail time and follow you the rest of your life. You need defense counsel ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    It seems more likely you may have been charged with stealing rather than burglary. The elements of burglary are not present in the scenario you provided. That being said, if you have been charged with stealing or if the state chooses to amend the charge to stealing or larceny, you may be facing a valid charge if they claim you participated by keeping watch, assisting her or "blocking" while she takes the merchandise even if you didn't touch the shoes. The lack of video will make the case more difficult for the prosecution but a lot of people are convicted on eye witness testimony alone. Video is not required to get a conviction. Your wallet in the car has nothing to do with the charge unless there is some issue of the two even being together. You could also be looking at a charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor if it is determined you had a participation in the action of a sixteen year old girl committing a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Runge Law Office
    Runge Law Office | Patrick Runge
    The burglary charge itself might be difficult, but I would be more concerned with either an aiding and abetting charge, or a contributing to the delinquency of a minor charge. If there's no question that she did, in fact, shoplift, then the State still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew she was doing it. If you've got a relatively clean record, I would suspect it's a circumstance ripe for a negotiated settlement with the county attorney's office. But I would suggest having an attorney to facilitate that negotiation.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Michael J. Orlando | Michael J. Orlando
    I don't see how anything you've indicated amounts to a burglary charge. The fact that your wallet was found in your girlfriend's mother's car doesn't add any additional evidence that would turn a shoplifting incident into a burglary. I hope this information is helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    They can make it stick if they can prove that you were aware of her intent to steal before you entered the store. In addition to your lack of wallet, which is explainable, they might argue that you were acting like a lookout. That would be aiding and abetting which is the same thing as commercial burglary. It depends on the security guard's report. It might say that you were acting suspicously, Or nervous, etc. Good luck. Get a good attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    You need to retain a criminal defense attorney immediately. First, the facts you describe do not support a charge of burglary at all. In Massachusetts, burglary is the breaking and entering of a dwelling house of another at night for the purpose of committing a felony inside. Perhaps some form of aiding and abetting or conspiracy would be reasonable based on whatever assistance they believe you gave your girlfriend in committing the crime, but not burglary. Your girlfriend should not have consented to a search of the car. You wallet and the money in it are irrelevant to any conceivable charge arising out of the facts you have presented. I think they are just trying to leverage you into testifying against her. Retain counsel and do not let them bully you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    The DeRose Lawfirm | Peter J. DeRose
    Absolutely not burglary. There was no "breaking." You were a business invitee in the store so the elements constituting a?burglary are not present. I do not believe your wallet being in the car has anything to do with it. You leaving your wallet in the car is no crime. You may, however, face charges for another crime. I can see a prosecutor charging you with conspiracy but anything else would be a stretch, assuming the truthfulness of your facts. Be prepared to hire a good criminal lawyer who is experienced! Maybe Mom too, if she was waiting in the parking lot of the store.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of J Edward Jones | J Edward Jones
    It sounds like you have a defensible case. What little evidence they have against you is circumstantial. You should get a lawyer to review the police reports to ensure there are no issues being overlooked.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    I think it would be hard for the burglary charge to stick, but a look-out is as guilty as the person who robs the store. A lot will depend on what the security officer says he/she saw. I normally try to get the matter put into diversion so that you end up without having to worry about a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    It simply a matter of proof whether you were an aider and abettor, defined as someone who was aware of the principal's actions (your girlfriend), intended to assist or encourage her in some way and did in fact do so. The evidence against you as you describe it is not overwhelming and you certainly have a chance to beat it. You need a good experienced criminal law specialist to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, the facts related would not constitute burglary under Minnesota law. It may be a basis for a theft charge, but even that seems weak based on eth evidence described. Second, regardless, it is always wise to hire aggressive legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    Buglary in Massachusetts can be armed or unarmed; it involves breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to commit a felony. Your fact pattern does not suggest a burglary; if suggests a shoplifting or larceny charge. The burglary charge may have come from evidence the police found in your car. Even if you had stolen merchandise in the car, you would usually be charged with receiving stolen property. In all likelihood the police cannot prove you committed a burglary, they can only that the property you possessed was stolen. There are a multitude of potential legal issues in this case. Not only can you challenge the burglary charge; but, the police may have needed a search warrant to search your car. The fact that you were with someone who was caught shoplifting is not enough to convict you of shoplifting. You had to participate in some manner. Hire a good criminal attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    Burglary is an unlawful entering with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglary sounds like a reach by the police. You can be charged as an accessory if you aided in the commission of the crime, which they have to prove. Mere presence with another who commits a crime without more is not a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    Burglary is breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony or a theft, and that does not seem to fit what you described. More likely, you could be charged with theft and conspiracy. Whether the state can prove any charge depends on all of the evidence. I would not post additional details, in case the state were somehow to obtain your post and use it like a confession. Instead, you should hire a lawyer or apply to the Office of the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    They probably can. It depends a lot on what the security guard says. Generally speaking, in Georgia only the testimony of one witness is needed to convict. You should consult with a criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your options.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    You can be charged as an aider and a better.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Orent Law Offices, PLC
    Orent Law Offices, PLC | Craig Orent
    Any attorney will always want to hear and see more (for example the police reports), but based on what you've said here it sounds like you have a defensible case. Regardless, you need the assistance of counsel; be sure to consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    If you were lawfully in the store, it is not burglary. Burglary is defined as intentionally entering or remaining unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein. The crime could be ANY crime, not just larceny, to be charged with burglary. But the intent has to be there as well as your unlawful presence. No, there is no burglary here. If the intent of both of you was to steal, however, you both could be convicted of larceny. Why you made a point of hr mother not being present confuses me. At 16 years old she is criminally responsible for her actions. Mommy is no longer there to protect her.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The facts you describe do not make a burglary. Burglary is unauthorized entry with intent to purposely commit a crime. You could be charged with being an accomplice to shoplifting or theft, even contributing to delinquency of minor. You should meet with a criminal defense lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You are not being charged for burglary related to a shoplifting. Either your girlfriend told the police about a burglary you committed, and were charged with, or you have made a mistake about the burglary charge. You must break into a livign dwelling in order to be charged with burglary. The police are not stupid. You are no more guilty of burglary for a shoplifting than you are for murder. They know something you do not think they know.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    How the hell can you be charged with burglary? Burglary is a felony offfense for breaking or entering a building with the intent to commit a felony/theft therein. At least, that is the way it is in Illinois. If they charged you with this burglary in another state, maybe that is the way of doing things, but you sure would never have been charged with that offense here in Illinois. Perhaps you mean you were also charged with retail theft, like your little friend was. In that case, you are being charged as an accessory to the crime, which is enough to charge you and have you arrested. However, hire a good defense attorney and he should be able to have the charge dropped, IF you did not do any act in furtherance of the crime. If you had no knowledge of the crime, nor took any action to aid or abet your friend, the charge should not stick.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    The mere fact that your wallet was in the car means nothing. From what you describe, it doesn't sound like they have much of a case. They could be trying to intimidate you or there could be something more going on. You need to speak to an attorney right away. If you can't afford one, go to the public defender's office in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No they can't but get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Burglary is not shoplifting. This sounds like shoplifting. I don't see where you entered the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a larceny or felony therein. There has to be more to the story for burglary, unless the store was closed at the time. Your fact scenario doesn't make out a burglary charge. I don't see how having left your wallet in the car makes you guilty of shoplifting or burglary. I am guessing there is alo more tothe story. Your girlfriend must have said something different or blamed you.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You were charged with burglary, but what you describe is Petty Larceny unless you were forbidden to come into that store previously, making the Trespass a Burglary. The fact that your wallet was in the vehicle is irrelevant. If you are with another person and act in concert with them, aid them in some way, or act as a lookout, then you are guilty as an accomplice. The prosecutor would have to show that you knew that she was stealing the shoes or that you helped her to steal them or to get away....an accomplice before the fact or an accomplice after the fact. If you saw her take the shoes and did nothing more than leave with her you could be considered an accomplice and your lawyer could argue at trial that you were not an accomplice. That would be a fact for the jury to decide based on the evidence, her statements, and your actions and statements. I do not see how they could prove the Burglary charge, which is a felony, but they can easily prove the Petty Larceny against her. She will be offered an ACD dismissal and if not arrested again in the next six months the case will be dismissed. You are both eligible for Youthful Offender Treatment and will therefore not have a criminal record. Your lawyer will access the evidence and advise you on your best option, but it does not appear that they have enough evidence for a conviction regarding your actions if you did not stand near her when she stole the shoes and it was not discussed in advance. Your girlfriend is immature and dishonest, you may wish to find a more intelligent girlfriend. Also, if you are having sex with her it is considered statutory rape since she is under 17 and therefore incapable of consenting to sex.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Attorney & Counselor at Law
    Attorney & Counselor at Law | John Hugger
    Probably not unless the video or security officer show that you were aware of her shoplifting.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You need to get representation! An attorney needs to see the entire police report and talk to you fully. That said it sounds like you possibly may have a defense but you need representation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    I don't see how. It's possible that there are facts that you don't know about, but if you were in the store when your girlfriend shoplifted, you aren't guilty of anything. If you helped her, you're guilty of shoplifting. I don't understand what the wallet has to do with it. Although the police make initial decisions about what charges to file, it's ultimately up to the prosecutor. I doubt they'll prosecute you for burglary on those facts.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    I see two questions perhaps more than anything else: 1. How can I get X dismissed, and 2. How can I be charged with X when Y happened. Both show a fundamental lack of understanding the legal process. That is generally a good thing, as if you are so used to being charged with crimes your probably in a bad spot in life. So... you may be being charged as an accomplice whereby the State is alleging that you acted in concert with the girlfriend (by the way it is completely irrelevant to anything that her mother was not present) such that she could accomplish the crime. It isn't possible to know how good the State's actual evidence is until you look at it. As they do not show it to you, and as it might not yet all be available (e.g. how do you have any idea what was recorded or not? Because they said so? And they always tell the truth? They said your committed a crime - is that true? Don't answer). Basically, your facing serious allegations. Don't take it lightly, and do not, under any circumstances, think that they will decide "Oh, nevermind let's just drop this whole thing." You're likely facing either a. a quick guilty plea (with negotiated terms) or a drawn out affair that will last a year. I suggest contacting a local criminal defense attorney to really go over the specifics of your case. Hopefully, there is no terrible long lasting consequences to you (and it doesn't sound like there would be anything major).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    They can try to make the burglary charge stick however they have some serious problems with proof. Your attorney can negotiate with the DA to drop charges or you might want to consider pushing the case to trial on a no time waiver basis. My best advice is to speak with your attorney or public defender soon!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
    Burglary involves the breaking into of a home, building or business establishment with the intent to commit a felony. On the facts you've recited, a charge of burglary cannot be established. If you did not attempt, or assist in the act of trying, to leave the store without paying for the shoes, then a shoplifting lifting charge, likewise, cannot be established against you.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    Although I would have to review all the evidence before I could give you a definite answer, but from what you are describing it does not sound like they have much of a case against you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Offices of Frederick L. Sosinsky | Frederick L. Sosinsky
    If the facts are as described, I believe the DA would have a difficult time making any charges stick against you versus her. If there is no proof that you aided or otherwise encouraged, requested or assisted your friend in her theft, you would not even be guilty of the misdemeanor let alone the felony. Hire the right lawyer and fight on.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC | Patrick E. Donovan
    Your fact pattern does not support a burglary charge in New Hampshire. That statute, RSA 635:1 requires proof that you entered an occupied structure for the purpose to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public. A store is open to the public and a burglary charge should be dismissed. At best, the State may have a basis for charging you with being an accomplice to a shoplifting or willful concealment charge, or attempted theft by unauthorized taking. At any rate, assuming the shoes are valued at less than $1,000, the State can only charge you with a misdemeanor offense. The search of the vehicle is suspect, provided the police did not have consent to search it, and the consent was free of coercion.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    The Short Law Group, P.C.
    The Short Law Group, P.C. | Shawn Kollie
    You could potentially be charged with the same crime as this individual under the theory of 'accomplice liability'. This theory states that whenever you help aid another in committing a crime you will have the same level of culpability as they do for actually committing the crime. Here it appears that the theory could apply to you as you were with her while committing the crime. It would be best to hire an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to help assist you through the complexities of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    You can always be arrested for something and then falsely charged. Under the facts as you have stated it does not seem like the State has a good faith basis to bring a case against you. However, the witnesses may have given a different interpretation of the facts. You should retain counsel and not talk to anyone until you have talked to a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    You need to retain an attorney right away. Without more evidence than what you describe they have a weak case against you. It sounds like the merchandise was only found on her, they might claim that you were an accessory but a lawyer would compel them to make their case on the evidence. You are an adult and have a lot more to lose than your girlfriend that is a minor, you really need an attorney to get between you and the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    This case is really weak. I am of the opinion that they could not convict you on this alone. It sounds like you have an overzealous prosecutor. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    The police are always instructed to charge burglary and larceny in these shoplifting cases. The burglary is just an add on charge to give the Defendant the incentive to plead to a misdemeanor to avoid a felony. Technically, under statutory burglary you can be charged with burglary if they can show circumstantial evidence that you entered the store with the intent to steal something.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Summers and Schneider
    Summers and Schneider | Kimberly A. Summers
    Based on the information you provided it sounds as though you have a very good defense. Keep in mind that police officers will often arrest you just for being together and "sort it out later." It's wrong but they do it all the time. You can find the information on burglary by searching for Penal Law 140.30 which gives you the elements they must prove in order to convict you of an offense. It is also surprising that they charged you with burglary as that typically requires entering a "dwelling" and not a store. While the charges may not stick in the long term, be prepared that it can often be a long process before it would go away. I would advise you to seek the advise of counsel or legal aid in fighting these charges.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    With a good lawyer, you should have a decent chance of beating any charge as a conspirator or accessory.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    They sure can, and they will unless you have a good attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Potentially. However, your version of events tends to say that as to you probably not. But would need more facts which you should only share with your attorney. Hire one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/15/2012
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