It is common to hear people use the terms burglary as though it is the same term as robbery. The fact of the matter is that there are many theft crimes and each of them has their own unique definition. According to the California Penal Code, there are significant differences between burglary, robbery, and theft. Today we are going to discuss the specifics of burglary charges in California.
If you have questions about burglary charges, or if you have been accused of or charged with this crime, then we welcome your call to Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055.
The definition of burglary
Burglary is the crime of entering a person’s home or property (including a business) with the intent to steal or otherwise commit a felonious crime. One example is a person who breaks into a friend’s home with the intent of assaulting said friend. Even if they did not actually commit the assault, going into their home with the intent to do so makes them guilty of burglary.
Here’s another example: A person breaks into their school with the intention of stealing computers. Even if there was not anyone else on the property at the time of the break in, burglary is still the crime. This is because burglary charges do not require person-to-person contact – no one else need be involved with the crime for it to be considered burglary.
Note that burglary is not the same thing as breaking and entering. Why? Because burglary does not require that a person breaks in. They may go in through an unlocked door or even a window.
First- and second-degree burglary
There are two degrees of burglary: First and second. First-degree burglary refers to a situation in which the accused breaks into a residence or home. This is also called residential burglary. Second-degree burglary includes all other breaks in other than into a person’s This is also called commercial burglary.
In California, first-degree burglary is a felony. A conviction can lead to formal probation, or it can lead to two, four, or six years in state prison. It can also come with fines of as much as $10,000. In many cases, burglary is charged with other crimes.
Second-degree burglary is what’s known as a wobbler crime, which means that the prosecution can decide if it should be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If it is charged as a felony, the results can be felony probation or time in county jail of 16 months, two years, or three years. This also can come with fines of as much as $10,000.
When second-degree burglary is charged as a misdemeanor, penalties can include a year in county jail, summary probation, and fines of up to $1,000.
If you have questions about burglary charges, or need to talk to a criminal defense attorney who can help you fight charges, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.