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Appeals Court Reverses Burglary Tools Conviction in Criminal Case

In 2009, an elderly woman got nervous and dialed 911 when a woman outside her home repeatedly rang her doorbell. She did not recognize the person at the door and did not open it. The woman, Marcelina Diaz, eventually left, but soon returned with a large bag . Inside the bag were latex gloves. This time, Diaz climbed a wall into the back yard. She pried open a screen door, only to find the sliding glass door locked. She was caught looking for another entry when the police arrived.

Diaz gave officers a fake name and birthday. Officers found the bag and gloves in the backyard. Besides being charged with felony residential burglary and making a false representation to a police officer, Diaz was charged with possession of burglary tools, a misdemeanor.

At her criminal trial, Diaz was convicted of all of the charges against her. Her criminal defense attorney appealed the charges of felony residential burglary and misdemeanor possession of burglary tools to the 4th District Court of Appeal. The criminal lawyers argued that the trial court failed to define the word “theft” for the jury, and that a bag and latex gloves are not “burglary tools.”

The 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the residential burglary charge, but found insufficient evidence that Diaz possessed “burglary tools.” They reversed that conviction, stating that a bag and gloves are not similar enough to those items defined as “burglary tools” by the California Penal Code section (such as a picklock, crowbar, screwdriver, slidehammer, etc.)

Even though only one charge was reversed, this was a victory for this criminal defendant. Diaz was sentenced to only a year in county jail with probation, instead of six years in state prison.

An experienced criminal defense attorney like Staycie Sena will not only work hard to get your charges reduced, but will do everything possible to get them dismissed outright, before the case goes to trial. If you are arrested for burglary, possession of burglary tools, DUI, domestic violence, or any other criminal charge, contact the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena immediately at 949-477-8088.