What You Need to Know if You Are Accused of Burglary and How it Can Affect You - Penal Code Section 459
In California, burglary is a very serious crime with serious consequences. There are generally two types of burglary, commercial and residential, often called first and second degree burglary. Burglaries committed in someone’s home are residential burglaries which are always felonies. All other burglaries are commercial burglaries and can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
California defines burglary as entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony once inside. A defendant can be convicted of commercial burglary if the defendant entered a building, vehicle, vessel, or cargo container, with the intent to commit theft or a felony. A felony commercial burglary conviction is punishable by up to three years in state prison. A misdemeanor commercial burglary carries a potential penalty of up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
A defendant can be convicted of residential burglary if the defendant burglarized an inhabited home or a room within an inhabited home, and the defendant entered with the intent to commit theft or a felony. Residential burglary is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to six years.
In addition, first degree burglaries are considered “strikes” under California’s Three Strikes Law, which brings substantial additional punishment and requires that you serve a longer percentage of your sentence before being released. In addition, if you have two prior strikes and are accused of any new felony, you are facing a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison.