SIERRA LAW CENTER
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BURGLARY

Burglary is defined in California Penal Code § 459. California Penal Code § 459 states as follows:

Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, railroad car, locked or sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle, trailer coach, as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, any house car, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, vehicle as defined by the Vehicle Code, when the doors are locked, aircraft as defined by Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code, or mine or any underground portion thereof, with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony is guilty of burglary.
For purposes of the burglary statute, "inhabited" generally means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.

Burglary can be punished in different ways. California Penal Code § 461 describes the potential punishment for a burglary conviction.
Penal code section 461 states:
 
(a) Burglary in the first degree: by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years.
 
(b) Burglary in the second degree: by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

On November 5, 2014, the voters of California passed Proposition 47, which added California Penal Code section 459.5. This new section converted certain commercial burglary charges to shoplifting. California Penal Code section 459.5 states:

(a) Notwithstanding Section 459, shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950). Any other entry into a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny is burglary. Shoplifting shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that a person with one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290 may be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) Any act of shoplifting as defined in subdivision (a) shall be charged as shoplifting. No person who is charged with shoplifting may also be charged with burglary or theft of the same property.

Notwithstanding section 459.5, serious consequences can still arise whenever anyone is charged with burglary. A conviction for first degree burglary is a "strike" under California Three Strikes Law. And, depending on whether someone was at home when the burglary occurred will determine if the burglary conviction is a "serious" or "violent" felony as defined by California Penal Code §§ 667.5(c) or 1192.7(c)

A strike offense, whether it is a "serious" or "violent" felony can have very serious, immediate and long term affects on your life. No matter if you are charged with first or second degree burglary it is essential that you seek the legal advice of a competent, experienced criminal defense attorney.

 
 
 
Office Address: 11260 Donner Pass Road, Unit C1-247 Truckee, California 96161 | 2850 Main Street, Unit 12-192 Susanville, California 96130
 
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