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A man walked down the narrow street. He saw a house being remodeled. There was no furniture in the house but there was obviously work being done on it. A “porta potty” was outside the house for the workmen to use. Lots of tools were in the garage; portable belt sander, air compressor, and a nail gun along with other items that could easily be sold. Temptation got the better of him. The man walked into the vacant house through an open unlocked door, where there were no plates, dishes, furniture, or anything else that would look like the house was inhabited.

The man stole the tools with the intent to sell them. While he was in the house the workmen came back and chased him away. Unfortunately for him he was arrested nearby still in possession of the stolen property. He was charged with burglary of an inhabited house and the enhancement that someone was home when the burglary occurred.

How could an obviously uninhabited house qualify as an inhabited dwelling house and just because the workmen come back why is the burglary all of a sudden a violent felony?

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Are you being prosecuted for a crime with hidden evidence? It is not uncommon for someone to be charged with a crime but be left wondering “How? What evidence could they possibly think shows I committed a crime?”

Well, the American justice system is founded on a principle of equal disclosure of all evidence, whether it tends to prove a defendant’s guilt or a defendant’s innocence. In California, Penal Code §1054 is the law that governs a process called “Discovery.” Discovery occurs at the early stages of a criminal trial, and requires the Prosecution to declare what witnesses they will be calling, and to turn over any evidence found in the process of their investigation.

For instance, the District Attorney must give you a copy of any police reports written by any officers that were a part of your arrest or investigation! This is important as it allows an experienced defense attorney to critically examine exactly what the police are claiming you did or didn’t do. Any discrepancies can very well lead to a dismissal! Did you say no to a search of your vehicle but the police are saying you gave consent? Well if your attorney knows this he can request a copy of the police cruiser videotape and clearly show your rights were violated.