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Many people find it exciting or even necessary to update their “friends” on their daily activities through social media outlets. Unfortunately, there can be dangerous consequences to these status updates, as one family in Fontana recently learned.

ABC News reports that the Cheatheam family began preparing for their upcoming Las Vegas trip like many of us do, by posting updates on their Facebook pages. They shared photos of their hotel and the city once they had arrived. Shortly thereafter, the daughter received a text from a so-called “friend” asking her how long she was going to be out of town. Robbery.jpg

With that knowledge, a group of alleged burglars reportedly made their move. While the family was enjoying their Las Vegas trip, 21-year-old Michael Batson, 32-year-old Phillip McKnight and 20-year-old Tyrone Gibson allegedly burglarized the family’s home. Police say that the suspects parked a U-haul truck in front of the Cheatheam home and loaded it up with their belongings, including televisions, artwork, beds and sofas.

Fortunately for this unassuming family, they were able to get their belongings back. According to police, an officer happened to be patrolling their neighborhood while the burglary was occurring. They spotted the three men moving their belongings into the U-haul and arrested them. Now Batson, McKnight and Gibson each face charges of burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.1

Punishment for Burglary and Possession of Stolen Property (Penal Code Sections 459 and 496)

California Penal Code Section 459 defines burglary as entering a room, structure or locked vehicle with the intent to steal something or commit a felony once inside.2There are two types of burglary: first-degree and second-degree.

The Cheatheam’s alleged burglars are likely to be charged with first-degree burglary because they illegally entered another person’s residence. This is a felony and is punishable by up to six years in state prison.

The suspects also face charges of possession of stolen property. Depending on their criminal history, this can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony under Penal Code 496.

If convicted of a misdemeanor for possession of stolen property the suspects can face up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony, they face up to three years in county jail.

Why You Need to be Careful What You Post on Social Media

The punishments that these suspects face are very severe, but their alleged crimes say a great deal about our lives and social media. The amount of information you share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites can greatly impact your safety. By exposing their location to their “friends,” the Cheatheam family was also giving potential criminals critical information.

While posting a picture on social media may seem innocent, it can let others know your whereabouts and leave your home in danger to such burglaries. It is important to know exactly who you are sharing such information with. You may think you know who all of your “friends” are on Facebook or other sites, but many of them may be complete strangers. Take the time to sort through your personal site and make sure you know who is seeing what you post.

As technology advances and information travels at faster speeds, we are still learning how to handle it. There are still many unanswered questions as to how we should treat social media and what is appropriate to share.

Should we impose more restrictions on social media sites so that potential criminals are not given opportunities to commit crimes? What information should we consider “appropriate” to share with the public? Wallin & Klarich would like your opinion on this topic.


1. [ http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/inland_empire&id=9482852]
2. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?file=458-464&group=00001-01000&section=pen]

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According to the OC Register, more than 100,000 visitors packed into Newport Beach, California to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2012. Newport Beach has approximately 85,000 permanent residents.

If you plan to celebrate this year’s festivities in Newport Beach, remember to party responsibly. The Newport Beach Police Department’s crime statistics indicate that the following five crimes typically experience a significant rise during the month of July:

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1. Public Intoxication (California Penal Code section 647(f))

In July 2012, there were a reported 145 public intoxication arrests in Newport Beach. It is interesting to note that this was the only month to see a triple-figure amount for this offense. In fact, no other month saw more than 81 reported public intoxication offenses.

To convict you of public intoxication in Newport Beach, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. You were willfully under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;
2. You were in a public place while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;
AND 3. You were unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others; OR 4. You interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way because you were under the influence.

Skilled public intoxication lawyer at Wallin & Klarich, Andrei F. Lapine, recently got a public intoxication charge against our client completely dismissed. Our client was facing up to 90 days in county jail and 1-year suspension of his driver’s license if convicted. Due to Mr. Lapine’s tremendous efforts, the district attorney agreed to drop the charge after agreeing that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Click here to continue reading.

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2. Petty Theft (California Penal Code section 488)

In July 2012, there were a reported 116 petty thefts in Newport Beach. This accounted for 16% of the city’s petty thefts in 2012.
To convict you of petty theft under PC 488, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements:

1. You took possession of property owned by someone else;
2. You took possession of the property without the owner’s permission;
3. When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time such that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

The prosecutor also carries the significant evidentiary burden of proving three additional facts in order to convict you of petty theft:

1.The stolen property had a market value of $950 or less;
2. The property was not taken directly from the owner (e.g. pickpocketing); AND 3. The property is not of a special type, such as an automobile, firearm, or farm animal.

Recently, experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney Andrei F. Lapine helped one of our clients avoid time in a juvenile detention facility after she was accused of petty theft under PC 488. If convicted, our client faced up to 6 months in juvenile detention. Mr. Lapine used his extensive legal knowledge to raise a successful objection to the arresting officer’s testimony against our client. Read the full story here.

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3. Assault (California Penal Code section 240)

There were 57 reported assaults in Newport Beach in July of 2012. Aside from August 2012 (52 reported assaults), no other month saw more than 50 reported assaults.
California Penal Code section 240 defines assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”

To convict you of assault under PC 240, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

1.You acted willfully;
2. Your act was a direct and probable result in the application of force to another;
3. You were aware that the act would likely result in application of force to another; AND 4. You had the present ability to apply the unlawful force.

Consider the following example:
On the Fourth of July, you were celebrating with friends at Sharkeez in Newport Beach. As you approached the bar to grab a drink, another individual bumped into you. Believing this contact to be intentional, you swung your fist at the person’s face, but missed.

You may be convicted of assault if the prosecutor can prove the following facts:

1. Your punch was willful;
2. Your punch was a direct and probably result in the application of force to another;
3. You were aware that your punch would likely result in the application of force to another; AND
4. You had the present ability to punch the person.

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4. Burglary (California Penal Code section 459)

In July 2012, there were 44 reported burglaries in Newport Beach. According to NBPD’s crime statistics, 27 of these burglaries were residential burglaries.

There are two types of burglary offenses- first and second degree burglary. The prosecutor will need to prove the following elements to convict you of first degree burglary:

1. You entered an inhabited home or a room inside of an inhabited home; AND 2. When you entered an inhabited home or a room inside of an inhabited home, you intended to commit theft or another felony.

To convict you of second degree burglary, the prosecutor will need to show the two elements listed below:

1. You entered an enclosure, such as a building, room, vehicle, vessel, cargo or container; AND 2. When you entered an enclosure, such as a building, room, vehicle, vessel, cargo, or container, you intended to commit a theft or another felony.

Outstanding criminal defense lawyer Christopher Lee recently convinced the district attorney to drop two felony burglary charges against our client, thus allowing him to maintain his employment. If convicted of both charges, our client faced up to 1 year in county jail and termination of his employment. After several negotiations with the district attorney, Mr. Lee persuaded the prosecutor that the charges against our client were not proportional to the alleged conduct. Click here to read more.

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5. DUI (Vehicle Code section 23152(a), 23152(b))

July 2012 saw a reported 42 DUI offenses. Fortunately, the city of Newport Beach often closes its busiest streets (e.g. Balboa Ave) during the Fourth of July festivities in order to protect visitors and residents alike.

You may be charged with a DUI under VC 23152(a) or 23152(b). The punishment for a DUI will be the same regardless of which code section you are charged under.

To convict you of a DUI under VC 23152(a), the prosecutor must prove the following two elements:

1. You drove a vehicle; AND 2. When you drove the vehicle, you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or the combined influence of both.

The prosecutor will need to show the following two elements to convict you of a DUI under VC 23152(b):

1. You drove a vehicle; AND 2. When you drove the vehicle, your blood alcohol level was 0.08% or more by weight.

Top Newport Beach DUI defense attorney, Matthew B. Wallin, recently earned a dismissal of all DUI charges against our client. If convicted of the charges, our client faced up to 6 months in county jail, up to $2,000 in court fines, and a loss of his driver’s license. Mr. Wallin achieved this outstanding result by challenging the legality of the arresting officer’s traffic stop. Full story here.

What can Wallin & Klarich do for you?

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of criminal offenses. Our law firm approaches every case with the belief that the person we are defending could be one of our own family members. We have seen firsthand how stressful legal matters can be for our clients and their loved ones. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Our offices are located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, Sherman Oaks, and Ventura. Call us today at (888) 280-6839. We will get through this together.

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In California, the crime of burglary occurs when you enter a structure (e.g., building or home) with the intent to commit a felony or a theft once you are inside. Depending on what kind of structure you enter, you may face one of two different degrees of burglary charges: First Degree and Second Degree Burglary. Being charged with first degree burglary in Riverside is the more serious of the two.

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What is Second Degree Burglary

Second Degree Burglary is charged if you entered a commercial building like a store or other public building. This charge is a wobbler in that it can be prosecuted either as felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case.

First Degree Burglary is charged if you entered a residential building or dwelling that is inhabited. The fact that you are invading a person’s most personal space in which they are most vulnerable renders this charge a felony. First Degree Burglary is always charged as a felony.

Punishment For Burglary

If you are charged with First Degree Burglary in Riverside, you may face a sentence in state prison for two, four, or six years. Since burglary is also regarding as a serious felony, you will incur a “strike” for the purposes of California’s Three Strikes Law – meaning any future felony charges you face will expose you to more severe punishments. You will also likely incur a fine of up to $10,000.

Your punishment becomes more severe with longer sentences if it is found that you either used an explosive device to gain entry into the structure or if you caused a person great bodily injury while committing the burglary. If proven, theses “enhancements” can potentially add another seven years to your sentence.

The consequences of first degree burglary in Riverside under Penal Code Section 459 are very serious to say the least and can completely derail the rest of your life. You will need the help and representation of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable attorneys can speak for you in defending your personal rights and fighting the allegations against you.

Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. Our attorneys are very knowledgeable and can help you achieve the best possible result in your case.

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An individual charged with automobile burglary in Los Angeles (PC 459) would do well to seek the assistance of a Southern California defense attorney. This charge is a wobbler, meaning it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony; however, a felony burglary conviction can mean serving time in state prison.

California law distinguishes automobile burglary from theft in order to provide stiffer sentencing for individuals who actually break into the vehicle. In many ways the two are comparable – an intent to steal is necessary, but in both cases the defendant doesn’t actually have to take anything. The most significant difference, however, is as mentioned, the defendant must actually have broken into the car.

This factor creates a dimension of complexity to this charge. What if the defendant breaks the window? Case precedent shows that, while a broken window can indeed be a means of entering the vehicle, in itself it does not always establish automobile burglary. A defendant who is caught breaking a car window may, for instance, admit that he did so, but suggest he was merely vandalizing the vehicle.

Similarly, if the defendant enters an unlocked vehicle and uses the inside latch to open the trunk, this is not considered breaking and entering. If he steals something from the trunk, the charge would be theft, but not automobile burglary. On the other hand, a charge may be made if the defendant applied pressure in some way which resulted in the door unlocking. Generally the door or trunk lock must have been compromised for an automobile burglary to be successfully prosecuted.

Automobile burglary is charged either as a misdemeanor or felony burglary depending on the specifics of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. A misdemeanor conviction carries up to a year in county jail; a felony can bring as much as 3 years in custody. For this reason, if you are charged with automobile burglary you need to speak with a Southern California defense attorney. We at Wallin & Klarich have spent over 30 years successfully defending persons accused of automobile burglary. Call us today at (888) 280-6839.

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If you are facing a burglary charge, the Los Angeles burglary defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to help. Burglary is a strike offense in California; receiving a conviction can seriously impair your ability to work or find housing.

A string of recent burglaries in the Southland are thought to be connected. The modus operandi of the perpetrators is to pose as Department of Water and Power employees or city construction workers. They work as a team: one appears at a resident’s door, introduces himself, and then lures him to the backyard or other part of the house. Meanwhile, a second member of the team sneaks inside and steals whatever he can find of value.

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that as many as nine homes have been burglarized in the San Fernando Valley in the past year. Burglars using a similar ruse have struck in West Los Angeles and North Hollywood as well. Police believe the various crimes are being committed by the same group despite what are sometimes conflicting descriptions of the perpetrators given by victims. Certain details are common in most all cases; e.g. the individual who introduces himself refers to himself as “Jerry,” and the “teams” communicate with each other via cell phones or walkie talkies.

The suspects are still at large.

California state law defines burglary of a residence (PC 459) as first degree burglary, whether or not anything is actually taken. This is a strike offense, and carries a potential penalty of 2-6 years in state prison. Add to this the offense of false impersonation in order to harm an individual or gain a benefit for oneself (PC 529), and the suspects, if caught and convicted, may face serious punishment, indeed.

If you are charged with a burglary, don’t rely on a public defender to help you. You need a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney on your side that is aggressive and experienced. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have spent over 30 years defending clients with a large range of issues. Call us today at 1-888-749-0034.

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A cypress man was arrested on suspicion of burglary after a homeowner walked in on him while in the act. Kris Do Young Shin, 31, was arrested Friday thanks in large part to the calm nature in which the victim handled herself. No word yet on whether or not Shin has retained a criminal defense attorney or not.

The incident happened Friday afternoon in broad daylight when woman spotted a man in her home. She called police and reported that the man fled the scene when confronted with her laptop and a key ring. She also managed to provide a description of the getaway car as well as the license plate number.

Shin was promptly arrested in neighboring La Palma after officers staked out his car and arrested him when he returned to the vehicle.

In addition to finding the victims laptop and keys, police also discovered that Shin had other property in his possession that they believe was from another burglary. A quick run of Shin’s name shows that he has been arrested on possession of burglary tools as well as burglary, but had pleaded not guilty in those crimes.

Residential burglary, also known as 1st degree burglary, is always charged as a felony and is also considered a strike under California’s three strike law. If convicted of 1st degree burglary, an individual faces as many as 6 years in state prison. If an individual already has a strike on their record, that punishment can be enhanced, all the way up to 25 years to life in prison if the person had two prior strikes.

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In the past, we have brought you stories of dumb criminals posting pictures of their crimes on their various social networking profiles, leading to open and shut cases for police and DAs. It’s the kind of criminal behavior that drives a criminal defense attorney crazy.

Police in Austin have decided to take a more proactive approach to solving crimes through social media, setting up their own Facebook page in an attempt to reach out to the public and get tips. Right now, the Facebook profile is being used by the burglary task force. They post pictures of items stolen and of suspects and ask the public to contact them through social media if they have any information.

A few years ago, the burglary task force was solving just 5% of all burglaries in the area. Now, thanks to initiatives like creating their own Facebook page, they have doubled that figure.
While responses to Facebook posts don’t always lead to arrests, it has also resulted in reuniting victims with their stolen property.

The police make sure to include telephone numbers in each post, ensuring that potential tipsters don’t have to reveal their identities on the social network.

This proactive approach is just a supplemental investigatory tool, and by no means is a substitute for good old fashioned police work. That said, with the way the internet is making the world a smaller place, especially social media, it is surprising that more departments across the country haven’t adopted a similar approach to investigating crimes.

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A Los Angeles teen is going to need a top notch Orange County criminal defense attorney after being caught trying to break into a home in Newport Beach and for being in possession of items stolen during an earlier home invasion.

Marvion Templeton, 18, was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary after neighbors reported a suspicious man knocking on doors and trying to open the doors when nobody answered. When cops arrived on scene, Templeton attempted to flee, but was quickly apprehended. When police searched his vehicle, they found several items that had been reported stolen during an earlier home invasion.

In that incident, residents returned home to find their place ransacked and several items had been stolen.

As any burglary defense attorney knows, residential burglary is also called 1st degree burglary. It is always a felony, regardless of how much property was stolen or destroyed, and it is also a strike under California’s three strike law. If convicted, Templeton faces up to six years in prison, and would have to serve a minimum of 85% of that time before he’d be eligible for parole. If he has any prior strikes on his record, he would receive a sentence enhancement. If this was his third strike, he’d face anywhere from 25 years to life in prison.

At this time, police are still conducting an investigation to determine whether Templeton was acting alone or if he had any accomplices.

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A group of burglars made off with a safe containing nearly $5 million in cash and jewels from a Los Angeles home two weeks ago. Police know that there must have been at least two people involved in the heist and probably more, as the safe weighed in at 500 lbs. If caught, the culprits would face first degree burglary charges and felony grand theft charges.

The heist was brazen to say the least. The culprits scaled a security wall, smashed in a glass door and used a rug to slide the safe from its upstairs location to a getaway vehicle. Given the extreme weight of the safe, it seems as though the burglars must have had some sort of inside knowledge of what they were looking for in order to have a vehicle capable of carting off the safe as well as having enough people to actually lift or carry the safe into the vehicle.

If caught, all the perpetrators would face significant jail time. Because they broke into a home, that is automatically 1st degree burglary, which is a strike in California. The punishment for 1st degree burglary is up to 6 years in state prison. Couple that with felony grand theft, which carries a maximum 3 year sentence, plus an addition 4 years because the value of the property stolen exceeded $3 million, and the perpetrators could face up to 13 years in prison if caught and convicted.

What do you think? Was this an inside job and does the potential punishment fit the crime?

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In a story straight out of the wild wild west, two men broke into the Siskiyou County courthouse in the early morning hours and smashed open a display case containing approximately $3 million in gold nuggets. This particular act of burglary was brazen to say the least, and if caught, the duo will need one heck of a criminal defense attorney to wriggle out of this one.

Siskiyou County is located on the border between California and Oregon, and was part of the Gold Rush that prompted settlers to move west in search of fortune. And just as crime was rampant back then, it seems as though these two bandits have gotten away with burglary and grand theft.

The case they broke into was protected by an alarm system, but the system malfunctioned and the alarm never sounded. The thieves knew what they were looking for too. The surveillance video shows the pair ignoring most of the smaller pieces and historical items, focusing rather on the larger pieces of gold.

It wouldn’t be too hard for a thief to case the courthouse and determine what was worth taking and what wasn’t. The gold nugget collection is prominently displayed in the courthouse for tourists and citizens alike to enjoy.

If caught and convicted, the thieves could face as many as 5 years in prison, including enhancement for stealing more than $3 million worth of assets. For the sleepy little town on the Northern California Border, this theft has been the talk of the town, and bringing the criminals to justice is priority number one.

About Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.