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New CA Car Break-In Law

California lawmakers, led by State Senator Scott Wiener and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, have proposed new legislation aimed at addressing the state's rampant car break-in problem. The law, slated to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes in January, seeks to eliminate a legal requirement that has proven a hurdle for prosecutors: proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a car door was locked to convict for auto burglary.

Break-In Convictions

Currently, to secure a conviction for auto burglary, prosecutors must demonstrate that the vehicle was locked at the time of the break-in. This necessitates victims to testify in court, which can be problematic, especially for tourists or individuals who cannot take time off work. The proposed law intends to simplify this process by making evidence of forcible entry sufficient to prove the crime of auto burglary.

The impetus for this legislation stems from the escalating rates of car break-ins in cities like San Francisco, where the problem has been particularly acute. Since 2010, the city's car break-in rate has skyrocketed, surpassing other large Californian cities. In fact, in 2023 alone, there have been 15,000 reported auto burglaries in San Francisco.

Lawmaker Sentiments

Senator Wiener voiced his concerns about the situation, stating, "San Francisco's high rate of car break-ins is unacceptable, and we need to ensure our police and district attorney have all the tools they need to address it and hold people accountable for committing this crime." He added that this law, if enacted, could make San Francisco and other cities across California safer.

Mayor London Breed echoed Wiener's sentiments, describing the proposed law as a "commonsense solution" and asserting, "We need laws that don't make it easy to get away with these types of crimes."

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins expressed support for the measure at a press conference, stating that the law would facilitate the prosecution of suspected car thieves, who often operate in groups. She noted that these crimes have become more brazen and organized, with criminals using tools to shatter windows in seconds.

In response to this escalating issue, San Francisco police have initiated a bait car program to catch these criminals in the act. Police Chief Bill Scott emphasized the importance of the proposed measure in combating the problem and voiced his support for new measures.


The vehicle break-in problem has disproportionately affected certain car makes and models. For instance, there has been a surge in thefts and break-ins of Kia and Hyundai cars due to a social media challenge. Audis with valet keys left in the glove box have also been frequently targeted.

This proposed legislation represents a significant step towards addressing California's car break-in epidemic by removing a legal loophole that has hindered prosecutions. If passed, it could pave the way for more effective law enforcement and a safer environment for the state's residents and visitors.

The Importance of Having an Attorney

In navigating the complex world of law, having an attorney by your side can make a substantial difference. Often, people underestimate the importance of legal representation until they find themselves caught up in a legal matter. This article aims to shed light on the crucial role attorneys play and how their expertise can be beneficial.

Understanding the Law

The law is complex and continually evolving. It involves intricate processes, legal jargon, and procedures that can be overwhelming for individuals without a legal background. An attorney can help you understand the nuances of the law, interpret complicated legal documents, and guide you through legal procedures, ensuring that your interests are protected.

Legal Advice and Representation

Attorneys provide valuable advice based on their knowledge, experience, and understanding of the law. They can help you make informed decisions by explaining possible outcomes, risks, and benefits associated with your case. In court, an attorney can represent you, advocating on your behalf and presenting your case in the most compelling way possible.

Negotiation Skills

Whether it is a business contract, a settlement agreement, or a plea bargain, negotiation is a critical aspect of many legal matters. Attorneys are skilled negotiators who can effectively communicate your position and negotiate favorable terms on your behalf. This can result in more favorable outcomes, whether it is securing a fair settlement in a civil case or reducing penalties in a criminal matter.

Saving Time and Money

While hiring an attorney may seem like a significant expense, it can save you time and money in the long run. Mistakes in legal documents or processes can lead to costly delays or adverse outcomes. An attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls, ensuring all documents are correctly drafted and filed, and all procedures are correctly followed.

Confidentiality and Ethical Standards

When you hire an attorney, they are bound by ethical rules to maintain confidentiality and act in your best interest. This allows you to openly discuss your situation, knowing that your attorney will keep your information confidential and use it to provide the best possible representation.

Peace of Mind

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of having an attorney is the peace of mind it affords. Knowing you have a professional who understands the law, is advocating for your interests, and is handling all the legal aspects of your case can alleviate much of the stress associated with legal matters.

While it is possible to handle some legal issues without an attorney, the expertise, advice, and representation provided by an attorney can be invaluable. Whether you are dealing with a civil matter, a criminal charge, or a business transaction, having an attorney can ensure your rights are protected, your interests are advocated for, and you have the best chance of a favorable outcome.

Contact Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC to learn more.