California Burglary Laws

california burglary lawsAccording to California law (Penal Code §459) burglary consists of entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony or a petty theft. Once inside, it is already considered a felony whether or not the crime was committed.[1]

It should be noted that in common law burglary is characterized by breaking an entry, nonetheless the actual Penal Code requires only entry a building with the intention to commit an offense.

Under California Penal Code 460 PC there are two categories for burglary, first and second degree burglary. Every burglary of an inhabited dwelling/house, which is designed for habitation or the inhabited portion of any other building, is burglary of the first degree. All other kinds of burglary are of the second degree.[2]

First degree burglary is considered to be a felony, meanwhile second degree burglary can be qualified as a misdemeanor depending on the criminal history of the person.

If the interest of justice can be reached by probation, the court has the right to grant it. If the court grants probation, it shall mention the reason or reasons for that order on the court record.[3] Probation cannot be granted to any person who is convicted of a burglary of an inhabited dwelling house or trailer coach, an inhabited floating home as or the inhabited portion of any other building.

If a person is condemned of first degree burglary, he may face two, four, or six years in the California State Prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

If a person is condemned of second degree burglary as a felony, he may face sixteen months, or two or three years in the state prison and the same maximum fine.

If a person is condemned of second degree burglary as a misdemeanor, he may face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

It has to be noted that any person who, with intent to commit crime, enters, either during by day or by night, any building, whether inhabited or not, and opens or attempts to open any vault, safe, or other secure place by use of acetylene torch or electric arc, burning bar, thermal lance, oxygen lance, or any other similar device capable of burning through steel or any other solid substance, or by use of nitroglycerine, dynamite, gunpowder, or any other explosive, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of three, five, or seven years.[4]

The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case. Do not hesitate to contact us. You will get your legal assistance as soon as you contact us. We handle every aspect of your case, from the first step to the very last court hearing.

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[1] California Penal Code 459
[2] California Penal Code 460
[3] California Penal Code 462.5
[4] California Penal Code 464

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