Burglary Is More Than Just a Theft Crime

When most people hear the word "burglary," they think of a person in a ski mask raiding someone else's house at night and making off with their valuables. While this is indeed an example of burglary, the act of theft doesn't always need to be present in order for a person to be charged with burglary. Under California Penal Code 459, the act of burglary is defined as the act of entering a residential or commercial structure with the intent of committing a crime once inside.

Given this definition, burglary is, in essence, a form of property crime similar to trespassing. While theft is most often the reason behind why people break into a building in the first place, a person may be charged with burglary simply for being in a place they have no right to be in.

Examples of burglary that do not involve theft include:

  • Breaking into a woman's home with the intention of raping her
  • Entering a bank with the intention of committing check fraud
  • Entering a store during business hours and hiding until closing to rob the store after hours

What Are the Penalties for Burglary in California?

A burglary charge in California can carry harsh consequences upon conviction. If a person is convicted of first-degree burglary of a residence, they can face a sentence of two, four, or six years in state prison. Second-degree burglary of a commercial building, on the other hand, is charged as a "wobbler" in California, meaning that it may be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. A misdemeanor second-degree burglary conviction can bring up to one year in county jail, while a felony conviction can bring either sixteen months, two years, or three years in prison.

Regardless of the circumstances, any type of burglary charge is extremely serious and can inflict long-lasting damage to a person's reputation and employment prospects. If you have been charged with burglary, the powerful Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Frances Prizzia can protect your future and freedom against the prosecution's claims. Backed by a proven track record of success and nearly a decade's worth of legal experience, we have what it takes to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your situation.

Call (888) 392-8114 or schedule a free case review today to get started towards building your defense.