Los Angeles police reported this past Tuesday that actress Lindsay Lohan was the victim of a "breaking and entering" crime. The security alarm company that services the actress house called police after the houses alarm went off. Police arrived at the Los Angeles-area home to find pry marks on the back door and evidence of tampering on one of the back windows. Police reported that while the house appeared to have been ransacked, it did not appear that anything was stolen. Lohan was not at home during the alleged break in.
Even if property was not stolen, breaking and entering is still a criminal offense that can put you in hot water in Los Angeles. Breaking and entering, more often known as trespassing, is technically defined as entering, occupying or simply not leaving another persons home or property without the owners permission. Trespassing/breaking and entering is typically a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of trespassing, you could be sentenced to 180 days in a county jail, fines of as much as $1,000, community service or probation. This may not seem like much, but a trespassing charge will still be put on your criminal record, which could hurt your chances when applying for jobs or housing. If prosecutors can prove an intent to actually steal something, then charges can be upgraded, so to speak, to burglary, which is often classified as a felony criminal offense and can count against you as a strike under Californias Three Strikes Law.
If convicted under the Three Strikes Law, enhanced penalties such as longer prison sentences will apply. First degree burglary, which is burglary that occurs in a home or other type of residential dwelling, is generally punishable by a minimum of two years and a maximum of six years in a state prison. Breaking and entering, or trespassing, charges should be taken very seriously as they can quickly escalate to even more serious charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney is an asset you need by your side to deal with it. A good criminal defense attorney knows that one of the most important factors in trespassing cases is proving or disproving the defendants intent. Another is whether or not a defendant has visited the home in question in the past.
If you are facing breaking and entering or burglary charges, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to begin preparing your defense.
Tagged as: california criminal laws, counterfeit goods pc 350
Comments:Anna Tutundjian CS 139 on June 13, 2009 at 3:03 p.m. wrote:
I also disagree with the first blogger's assertion that the case should not be pursued. Instead, I believe that it is completely just to include it in the 'Three Strikes.' While proving intent in court can be a difficult task, breaking into someone's home is a serious matter. All throughout time we have heard of a myriad of break in & robbery cases, and now especially with the economy, it has escalated. I, alone, know of 5 cases of break-ins in this past month alone. Breaking in is a very dangerous and sensitive issue. Consider the residents-whether they were home or not, they are going to suffer from psychological trauma-the mere thought of their privacies, their save havens being intruded upon, the mere thought of another break-in occurring any second now. What if someone breaks in and their children are home alone, then what? These are the type of questions that a simple break-in leaves the victims. Personally, after the break-in, my two younger cousins no longer felt safe and insisted upon staying in the grandparents home. Also, going back to intent, although it may be difficult to prove, I think it's rather obvious what the intent was. I mean what's the probability that someone broke into a home for some sort of good reason? Most break-ins are for robberies, gathering other types of personal information, or planting something in the house. Although, there are exceptions and you cannot prosecute someone based on speculations and generalizations, break-ins usually hold a negative connotation and cause severe harm to the victims.
Karissa Suchil UCLA on June 13, 2009 at 11:53 a.m. wrote:
I found this blog to be very interesting and it really makes us think about society. With 'sexting' growing I do not think we should worry about how we are going to charge the students (although that is going to be a major issue) but more importantly I am worried about why children think this is okay in our society. Growing up I would have thought society standards were against this so I personally would have known that it was wrong, but with the things kids see in the media today I wonder if they know that the material is inappropriate.
Karissa Suchil on June 13, 2009 at 11:42 a.m. wrote:
After reading about the incident I wondered how the lawyers would argue for intent. The fact that the case is high profile seems to really glorify the crime. To me, it seems as if the celebrity factor would work both for and against the defendant. On one hand, it may work in his favor because people find many reasons for entering the private property of stars (like the comment about paparazzi), thus proving an intent to steal might be harder. On the other hand, even if intent is not found I think that because it is in the media it may serve as an example, thus giving the defendant a stronger punishment then the average Joe.
Tulsi Patel (COM 139) on June 12, 2009 at 7:31 p.m. wrote:
Although attempting to convinct an individual based on their intent may be complicated and susceptible to error, I still believe that breaking and entering/trespassing should be classified as a strike under the 3 Strikes Law. It may be true that no property was stolen and Lohan herself was not injured, however for this act to simply be ignored on those grounds alone has frightening implications for society. Should anybody be allowed to lurk on your property, attempt to enter your home without your knowledge, and fail to alert you to their presence or purpose? Should this still be acceptable even if that person does not intend to hurt you and take any of your belongings? If so, the peace of mind and security that comes from being home or away from home is pointless. This issue simply comes down to a matter of protecting the sanctity of one's property. There must be consequences for infringing on another's property, regardless of whether anything was stolen or someone was hurt. It is the basis for a civilized, democratic society.
Vincent Palladino on June 12, 2009 at 5:06 p.m. wrote:
This case reminds me of the paparazzi dilemma regarding their rights to do what they do. There are only two valid arguments opposing paparazzi activities in which property rights are violated. The first, pertaining to acts committed on private property, applies to breaking and entering/trespassing, as seen in the Lindsey Lohan situation. Prohibition of paparazzi and their acts would be the result of such decisions by the property owner. The only other bona fide claim against paparazzi actions would be that the uninvited flashes of the cameras create 'visual pollution,' which violates an individual's sight. These claims against paparazzi actions are the only two that realize a legitimate violation of property rights, and justify indictment for such actions.
Brian Ryoo on June 12, 2009 at 10:21 a.m. wrote:
I find it interesting that the misdemeanor of 'breaking and entering' can be upgrade to 'burglary' based on intent. As someone has already pointed out, proving intent is difficult. But the thing that really intrigues me here is the possibility that a prosecutor could change the charge from burglary to breaking and entering as part of plea bargain. Can this be done? I am not for or against this idea, but it isn't a simple issue in my mind. From my cursory understanding of plea bargains, one of the main advantages for the prosecution, and thus the society, is that they save money, time, and resources. The prosecutors and the judge do not have to go through the entire trial, so they can devote their resources to more difficult and nuanced cases. Another advantage is the certainty of a conviction. The prosecutors are essentially 'buying' a conviction with whatever consideration was made for the plea bargain. I don't know if these reasons are valid; they are simply the way I make sense of plea bargains in my head. I also think they are fair rationales. However, do we know how plea bargains affect the 'justice' of our legal system? What kind of studies have been done on this issue? One function of law is to deter crimes. Is there a reason to believe that the prospect of plea bargaining affects the potential criminals' motivation in an adverse way? If I am thinking of breaking and entering someone's house and stealing something and I knew that even if I were caught I could get off with a misdemeanor after a plea deal, could that affect my motivation to commit the crime? And if this were so, is plea bargain a 'just' tool to use for a prosecutor?
Ashley Harris on June 12, 2009 at 12:14 a.m. wrote:
Home is a supposed to be a sanctuary for the inhabitant. Breaking and entering is obstrusive and frightening and nearly as bad as burglary. In the past month, two of my close friends had their homes broken into and robbed. Now they don't feel safe at home. I think this crime should count as a strike for that reason. Regardless of intention, the perpetrator is stealing the victim's peace of mind. Various degrees of punishment should apply depending on the situation of course. I think that forced entry is as important as intention. It takes takes time and physical exertion to pry open a door.
Komel Soin UCLA on June 11, 2009 at 11:44 a.m. wrote:
I think that it is fair that is classified under the three strikes law. The individual who did the breaking and entering had some intent which needed to be carried out without the occupant's knowledge, meaning he or she was probably looking to damage, steal, or invade the individual's privacy in some manner. I disagree with the first blogger who states that the case should not be further investigated. If somebody had been home, they could have gotten hurt. Also, if the intent was to stalk, then that could suggest that there is more reason to assume danger for Lohan in the future. One's home should be a safe space, and to break into someone's home is to violate that sanctity- be it a celebrity, or any regular Joe Schmoe.
MatthewReynard703719660 on June 10, 2009 at 8:33 p.m. wrote:
Breaking and entering is all about the persons intent. And it seems that an experienced attorney knows how to correctly reveal intent. Breaking and entering can turn into more serious crimes if the suspects intent is not correctly shown in the positive light.
Theresa Fiddler on June 9, 2009 at 7:57 p.m. wrote:
Regardless of intent, it is not that difficult to stay away from a place where you shouldn't be and even easier to refrain from breaking in fromt hat place. The first blogger suggested that there is no point in pursuing the Lohan matter further, but I wholeheartedly disagree for such an attitude sends the message to society that if you are sneaky enough to get away with your crime than no one will bother to try to catch you afterward. It does not matter that no property was stolen or no one was hurt, some one is guilty of breaking and entering and is going to get away with it because it 'doesn't seem like that big of a deal.' It is the principle of the matter and the person who committed the crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Further, I see no issue with a breaking and entering charge couting as a felony under the three strikes rule. Breaking and entering is a serious crime whether someone intends to steal or nor. I don't know about anyone else, but I prefer not having someone break into my home regardless of whether they are going to steal something. This is a serious and potentially dangerous crime that scoiety needs to take a stronger stand on.
Jordan MacDonald (UCLA) on June 8, 2009 at 8:46 p.m. wrote:
First of all, I think that breaking and entering should be more than just a misdemeanor offense, since it can cause serious psychological damage to whomever's property is being broken into. However, proving 'intention' to rob is exceedingly difficult, as seen in the case of Mr. Kingston and the robbery kit case. Since intention to rob moves the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony it is very important that the verdict be a fair one. Obviously, nobody can be certain of the intention of a person since we cannot know exactly the events that were to follow. In addition, if someone were to be wrongfully accused of burglary based off of an 'intention' alone, that felony would seriously affect their futures. It would unjustly give them a mark on their criminal record that would limit their opportunity to succeed in life.
Asher Luzzatto 139 on June 8, 2009 at 3:01 p.m. wrote:
While trespassing, or breaking and entering may appear to be a substantial crime, I do not believe it's fair to classify it under the 3 Strike Laws as it does not necessarily entail any theft or damage to property. It would be important to have a knowledgeable lawyer to mitigate the repercussions because the act could be as simple as walking in to an empty house in search of a lost item, or to make contact with someone who is not presently there in hopes of passing along information or some other form of important communication. If no property is damaged, nobody is hurt, and nothing is stolen, the charge should be dropped altogether (being that the defendant could and should make a believable argument as to why the act took place). In no way is the Lohan case different from any other trespassing charge except if the offender was stalking (being that Lohan is a celebrity). However, with no further impact after the security system went off, there is very little reason to continue to pursue the matter. Lohan is safe, her property is secure, and to prosecute at this point would simply be hostile and an act lacking any form of compassion.
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