Commercial Burglary: California Penal Code 459

Generally speaking, burglary, as defined under Cal. Penal Code Section 459, is the act of entering into a building with the intention of stealing property or committing another felony. A burglary conviction can result in incarceration, significant fines, and a permanent criminal record. Under California law, entering into a building with the intent to commit a theft or some other felony is classified as Burglary.

Commercial or Second Degree Burglary

All other burglaries of cars and businesses are classified as Second Degree Burglary. These auto or commercial burglaries of a store or auto are charged as misdemeanors but can be charged as a felony. Second Degree Burglary is often charged in connection with shoplifting charges. Second Degree Commercial Burglary can be charged if a shoplifter is caught with scissors or some cutting tool used to remove price tags.

Burglary charges can have a devastating effect on your life, once convicted of burglary, it will remain on your record. This can make it very difficult to find good employment in the future. At the Law Offices of David Chesley we will help you through this difficult situation and do everything we can to protect you from a conviction.

Burglary Penalties

  • Second Degree Burglary is punishable in county jail or state prison depending on how it is filed. Second Degree Burglary is a wobbler, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is a misdemeanor then the maximum sentence is a year in county jail. If filed as a felony then the maximum sentence is 3 years in state prison. However, Second Degree Burglary is not a “Strike” under California law.

Defending Burglary Charges

  • The key to burglary is intent of the person entering the residence or other occupied structure. If the person intends to steal or commit a felony when entering, then burglary has occurred. The prosecutor does not have to prove that the theft or felony occurred; only that it was intended at entry. Proving intent may be tricky especially if the theft or felony was not committed. If the requisite intent cannot be proved then the Defense has a chance of defeating the charges.
  • Another common defense to burglary is that the accused had a legitimate reason for being on the premises in the past. If fingerprints were lifted at the crime scene then the prints could be explained by a previous visit to the location.
  • The defense of mistaken identity could be raised in certain cases. Having a strong and believable alibi would be critical in this situation. Any home or store surveillance videos could help validate the defendant’s alibi.

If you or a loved one are facing any type of criminal charge contact us at the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our expert attorneys will help you through this difficult process. Call us today for your free initial consultation.

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