Burglary - Penal Code 459

Burglary is defined as entering any residential (First Degree) or commercial building (Second Degree) or room with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein. 

First Degree Burglary

First Degree Burglary is categorized as a felony and occurs when the subject of the burglary is a person's home. The penalties for First Degree Burglary include a state prison sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years. 

Second Degree Burglary

Second Degree Burglary can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony (depending on the circumstances) and occurs when the subject of the burglary is anything other than a person's home, such as a business.

As a misdemeanor, the penalties for Second Degree Burglary includes a maximum sentence of 1 year in county jail. As a felony, the penalties escalate to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years. 

Common Defenses to Burglary

  • You had no intent to commit a felony or theft when you entered the property
  • You mistakenly believed the property to be your own
  • You believed the items that you took from the property belonged to you