California Burglary Laws under Penal Code 459

Sentence and Punishment for Burglary in California

California’s law on burglary defines this offense as entering a room, structure, or a locked vehicle to commit a felony therein. For this crime, entry into any structure does not have to be accomplished through force, threat, violence, or any act of destruction, but only has to be done with intent to commit a felony or any offense that can be charged as a felony.

Burglary is different from robbery as it does not require a person to person confrontation. For one to be convicted of burglary, the state has to prove that they entered into a structure with intent of committing a felony. California law defines robbery as taking of property from another, against their will, through force or fear.

California law considers the act of burglary as a wobbler. It means that depending on the circumstances of the offense, it can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.

Under California Penal Code Section 460, burglary is categorized into the first-degree burglary, which is a felony, and second-degree burglary, which can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. First-degree burglary is usually residential burglary. It involves getting into an inhabited dwelling designed for habitation. A dwelling could be considered inhabited if it is meant for dwelling purposes, even if it is not occupied. If convicted of this felony offense, the defendant may face a sentence of two, four, or six years in state prison.

Second-degree burglary under California burglary laws refers to any other instances of the offense, including commercial burglary and burglary of any structure apart from a residence or a dwelling. A person convicted with second-degree burglary could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A defendant charged with a misdemeanor could face imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum of one year. A person charged with a felony for second-degree burglary could be sentenced for up to 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison.


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