How California Law Distinguishes Burglary Offenses
Summer in California is associated with beaches, vacations and fun. According to reports, the summer months also bring an increase in crime. Burglary reportedly increases 11 percent during the summer.
Whether it takes place during the summer or during the coldest night in the winter, burglary is a serious offense in California. Let’s take a closer look at the crime of burglary and how it is prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 459.
Home Burglary (PC 459)
Home or residential burglary is when a person enters an inhabited home or room within the home with the intent to commit theft or another felony crime. This type of burglary is known as first-degree burglary and is a felony offense.
In order to find you guilty of first-degree burglary in California, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You entered an inhabited home or a room inside of an inhabited home, and
- You intended to commit theft or another felony offense when you entered the inhabited home or room
If you are convicted of first-degree burglary under PC 459, you face up to six years in state prison, $10,000 in fines and a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes law. The penalties you face could increase based on the circumstances of the case, including whether you had a gun or you caused great bodily injury to another person.
Commercial burglary, also known as second-degree burglary, is when you enter a store, office building or any other commercial structure with the intent to commit a theft or felony. To convict you of second-degree burglary, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements:
- You entered an enclosure, such as a building, room, vehicle, vessel, cargo or container, and
- When you entered the enclosure, you intended to commit a theft or another felony
Commercial burglary is a wobbler offense, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and your prior criminal history. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Felony second-degree burglary is punishable by up to three years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 under PC 459.
Contact the Experienced Burglary Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of burglary in California, you should speak to an experienced burglary defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our law firm has bee successfully defending clients facing burglary charges for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich burglary defense attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your burglary case. We will get through this together.