Under California Penal Code 459, you may be found guilty of burglary when you enter a building, vehicle, home, or other structure with the intent of stealing something or committing a felony. To be convicted of burglary in California, prosecutors are required to prove that you entered a building with the intent to commit a felony.
However, there are multiple different types of burglary, each with their own unique punishments. Based on the severity of your offense, will you receive a strike on your criminal record for a burglary charge?
Based on the type of structure you entered, you could be charged with either first- or second-degree burglary. California Penal Code 459 defines burglary as the act of breaking and entering a “structure” with the intention of stealing property or committing another felony.
PC 459 provides a complete list of structures that may give rise to a burglary conviction. The full list is provided below:
- Outhouse or other building;
- Floating home;
- Railroad car;
- Locked or sealed cargo container;
- Trailer coach;
- Inhabited camper;
- Aircraft; or
- Mine or any underground portion thereof.Two burglars quietly explore a house through a window for a burglary
First-degree burglary, also known as residential burglary, occurs when you enter another person’s home and is always charged as a felony crime. First-degree burglary is punishable by 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Under California Penal Code Section 1192.5, first-degree burglary is a strikeable offense under California’s Three Strikes Law.
Because first-degree burglary is a strike on your criminal record, you will be required to serve 85 percent of your sentence if convicted. If you have a prior strike, your sentence will be doubled and you must serve at least 80 percent of that doubled time. If your first-degree burglary conviction is your third strike, you could be sentenced to state prison for 25 years to life.
Second-degree burglary, also known as commercial burglary, occurs when you enter a commercial structure such as a business or office building. Second-degree burglary is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case and your past criminal history.
If convicted of misdemeanor second-degree burglary, you face up to 1 year in county jail. If convicted of felony second-degree burglary, you face up to 3 years in county jail. Unlike a first-degree burglary charge, you do not face a strike on your record if convicted.
Enhancements to Burglary Charges
Under Penal Code 667.5, if you are convicted of first- or second-degree burglary charges and are sentenced to state prison, you will receive an additional 1-year state prison sentence for each prior felony conviction you have.
Your burglary offense may become a violent felony if the following applies:
- You are convicted of first-degree burglary, and
- Another person was in the structure when you entered
If your burglary offense is a violent felony and you have prior violent felonies on your criminal record, you may face an additional 3-year state prison sentence for any prior conviction.
Contact the Burglary Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love is facing burglary charges, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our burglary defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully helping our clients reduce their charges and clear up their criminal records. 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 attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
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