California Penal Code Section 464 PC: Safe Blowing

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimeburglary

While burglary crimes typically expose a defendant to felony-level prosecution, there are some burglary crimes that are considered more serious than others. When a person uses a torch or other dangerous device capable of cutting open safes and vaults, he or she could be charged with safe blowing under California Penal Code Section 464 PC. A conviction for safe blowing can result in lengthy prison sentences.

In order to prove a defendant is guilty of safe blowing, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant entered a building, whether inhabited or not.

  2. The defendant entered the building either by day or by night.

  3. The defendant entered the building with the intent to commit a crime.

  4. The defendant opened or attempted to open a vault, safe, or other secure place by use of acetylene torch or electric arc, burning bar, thermal lance, oxygen lance, or other similar device capable of burning through steel, concrete, or other solid substance.

  5. OR the defendant opened or attempted to open a vault, safe, or other secure place by use of nitroglycerine, dynamite, gunpowder, or other explosive.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Burglary - California Penal Code Section 459 PC
  2. Possession of Burglary Tools - California Penal Code Section 466 PC
  3. Grand Theft - California Penal Code Section 487 PC
  4. Petty TheftCalifornia Penal Code Section 484 PC
  5. Possessing Destructive DevicesCalifornia Penal Code Section 18710 PC
  6. Possessing Destructive Device MaterialsCalifornia Penal Code Section 18720 PC
3. Examples

A skilled safecracker is recruited by a burglary crew to assist in a massive jewelry heist at a store. The security alarms are disabled and the safecracker is lowered into the store through a skylight. The safecracker has an acetylene torch and uses it to try to break into a safe containing cash and jewelry. However, the safecracker did not realize that a silent alarm was triggered, and he is caught before he has broken into the safe. In addition to potential burglary and conspiracy charges, the safecracker could be charged with safe blowing in violation of California Penal Code Section 464 PC.

In another example, a welder is approached by his brother, a well-known burglar. The brother tells the welder that he recently stole a safe during a break-in but has been unable to open it despite his best efforts. He asks the welder if he can try to open the safe. The welder takes the safe to his workshop and is able to break it open by using an acetylene torch. Inside the safe, the brothers find cash and other valuables. The welder is given a cut of the proceeds for his help. While the welder may be criminally liable for being an accessory after the fact, receiving stolen property or even aiding and abetting in the burglary, he would not guilty of safe blowing in this scenario. This is because he never entered the building, which is required under the statute.

4. Defenses to Safe Blowing

As described above, if the defendant did not enter a building with the intent to commit a crime, which is required of any burglary offense, he or she would not be guilty of safe blowing under California Penal Code Section 464 PC. Thus if the defendant helped to open a safe after someone else committed a burglary, that defendant would not be criminally liable for this offense.

5. Penalties

Safe blowing is a very serious felony offense. Those convicted of safe blowing can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

6. Criminal Defense for Safe Blowing Cases

Safe blowing is a serious felony offense that can result in lengthy prison sentences for those convicted. If you or a loved one have been accused of this offense, it is very important that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is highly adept at defending clients charged with offenses like this. Mr. Kraut works hard to ensure his clients’ interests are absolutely protected.

For more information about safe blowing, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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