Will I serve jail time for burglary? 15 Answers as of July 21, 2011

I've been charged with burglary in a shop lifting case. The total amount of goods I was charged with is less than $950 and I live in California. Am I going to serve jail time? what is my punishment likely going to be? thank you.

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A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
If you are convicted of burglary the sentence you will face will depend on which county your case is in because offers vary from county to county. It will also depend upon your record and if you have any priors, specifically theft related offenses. You should speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to discuss any possible defenses in your case and if there is a possibility of a dismissal. If you are going to be found guilty an attorney can negotiate deal can often be negotiated with the DA to avoid jail time if you are able to pay restitution. Even if you get sentenced to jail time there are many alternatives to jail such as community service or cal trans which an attorney can ask the judge to give you instead of jail.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/21/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
It depends on whether you are convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor and your prior record. These cases are all subject to negotiations and plea bargaining so it would be helpful if you could retain an experienced certified criminal law specialist.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/20/2011
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
If you have no prior record, punishment won't be that severe. But you should still get a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Felony you could get up to three years in prison. Otherwise it could be up to a year in county jail if not a felony.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2011
Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz
Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz | Jacek W. Lentz
I doubt you would be facing jail time. If you are going to take plea, make sure you plead to petty theft, not burglary. Do not attempt to handle this matter by yourself though. Get a lawyer involved as soon as possible. Perhaps he or she will be able to have the whole matter dropped before charges are filed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, testimony, priors history, etc. Felony charges indicate the prosecutor is serious about hammering you. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone about the case except an attorney. Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence, facts and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. You can hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. He will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    It depends. If you are charged with a Penal Code 211, you may be required to do some jail time. A felony 211 is sometimes charged at a minimum 2 year and a maximum 5 year sentence. If this is your first time through the criminal system, the DA will likely give an offer containing the choice to work instead of jail time. This can be done through community service or cal trans work. It all depends on what the first offer from the DA is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Being charged with committing a crime is not the same as being convicted. That must occur before you can be punished. You could , if convicted, spend some time incarcerated. For how long and where, depends on factors not provided [prior record, etc.?] Talk to your attorney. Depending on the circumstances regarding the alleged theft and you, he or she may be able to have any charges dismissed or considerably reduced.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    If the burglary charge is filed as a misdemeanor (which is likely the case) you are facing a maximum of one year in county jail. IF it were to be filed as a felony the maximum is 3 years in state prison. You do not state if you made any admissions or confessions. You also do not state if you have a prior criminal record. These factors will in part determine the outcome of your case. You should immediately confer with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your city.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    To Whom It May Concern: You did not say, but burglary and shoplifting are two distinct crimes. Shoplifting is a minor misdemeanor, for which you can serve no more than six months in jail. Burglarly is a 'wobbler', and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, though I would be surprised to see a case like this charged as a felony. Still, the closer the value of the items you stole was to $900, the more likely it would be that the District Attorney would file it as a felony. You can get up to a year in jail for burglary, even as a misdemeanor.Jurisdictions vary in their treatment of crime and in their standard dispositions (negotiated dispositions). I would not expect you to have to do any, or at least, not much actual jail time. You will probably receive three years of summary (informal) probation, some fines, search terms for stolen property and a brief jail sentence, which you should be able to serve in a weekend work release program, or on 'Electronic Confinement' ("House Arrest").
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    Burglary occurs when the intent to steal is formed outside of the building. You may be able to drop it to a petty theft and if you have no priors stay away from jail. I would need much more facts regarding your case in order to give you a final determination. Feel free to contact my office with an questions you may have. Case evaluations are always free. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of Mark Bruce
    Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
    The answer depends on a number of facts we don't know. Have you been arrested before? Was there any violence connected to the attempt or escape from the taking of goods? Do you live in a court jurisdiction which is highly punitive? If this is a first time case, in most California counties you will serve no more time than you did after being arrested. If the amount of goods taken is under $400, it's a petty theft. They may have charged you with "residential burglary" if you went into a store with intent to steal. "Intent to steal" is not easy to prove on a first time case unless you made unfortunate statements to the police. If there was violence connected to the theft or the attempt to get away, the DA could file robbery charges against you. That's a straight felony and if you plead to it, it will likely have jail time connected. Some very punitive jurisdictions will make you serve at least 30 days even on a first. If you can't afford an attorney, ask for court-appointed counsel. It's a bad idea to handle any criminal matter without the advice of a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Depends on the jurisdiction. Over $400 is a felony but they will most likely have you plead to a misdemeanor. You might get some county jail time BUT usually you can serve it on home detention or doing public service work. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    That will depend upon your record. It is possible that you will serve some jail time, but mostly likely you can do it on an alternative program.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    That depends on the surrounding circumstances. It may be possible to get you on some kind of Work Release or Community Service alternative to custody, but that will depend on your Criminal history and details of the incident. Look up local criminal defense attorneys and speak with a couple. Most will offer free consultations and that will also give you an idea as to whether or not you can afford to hire one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
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