If you think California burglary is treated similarly to theft in the local courts, you are wrong. Burglary is a much more serious offense and carries far more serious penalties. California courts are notoriously tough on criminal defendants and this is especially true with crimes like burglary.
What makes burglary different is that it is committed on property where you have no legal right to be. It is often committed at someone else’s home, making it a particularly personal crime.
Whether you made a conscious decision to commit an offense like this or if you went along with someone else’s plan, you face severe penalties if convicted.
California Burglary Laws
What is burglary under California criminal statutes? Burglary is defined under California law as:
Entering any home, room, apartment, store, barn, floating home (or many other qualifying buildings) when the doors are secure, for the purpose of committing grand or petit larceny.
This means the charge of burglary can apply to entering someone’s home and stealing jewelry or entering a locked store and stealing clothing. There are numerous different scenarios that could qualify as burglary, and numerous different opportunities for you to be convicted.
California Burglary Penalties
If convicted of burglary, the sentence you face will depend on the exact circumstances of your case. The offense is classified as first degree or second degree depending on the specific facts.
First Degree Burglary applies to cases that involve entering a home or apartment—somewhere that is an inhabited dwelling. This serious felony offense carries 2, 4, or 6 years in prison.
Second Degree Burglary applies to all other burglary cases. It carries up to one year in jail if you are convicted.
Burglary Legal Defense Options
A criminal charge is not the same as a criminal conviction. In other words, you still have option. By working with a defense lawyer, you can establish a defense strategy that may decrease the likelihood of conviction and therefore help you avoid the serious legal penalties of this charge.
No two cases are the same and it’s because of this that no two defense strategies are the same. Your case may warrant a plea agreement with the prosecution, in order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. If, however, you are innocent of the charges against you, you and your attorney could decide to fight the charges at trial.
Discussing your case with an attorney is the first step in determining the best course of action. Let us put you in touch with a local defense lawyer today.