What are the degrees of burglary in California?
In California, burglary refers to the crime of entering a property without permission and with the intent to commit a crime. For sentencing purposes, the California Penal Code lists several types of properties an individual may enter for the purposes of committing burglary: Homes, residential rooms, apartments, businesses, outhouses, tents and others.
If you or your teen faces burglary charges in the Golden State, you may notice that the state categorizes the charges in one of two ways: as first or second degree. FindLaw explains the differences between the two degrees of burglary and the punishments associated with each.
In California, you commit a burglary of the first degree if you enter an inhabited dwelling without permission and with the intent to commit a crime. For legal purposes, an inhabited dwelling is any home, vessel or property that was “currently inhabited” at the time of your actions or that someone else designed for habitation. “Currently inhabited,” for legal purposes, merely means that a person or persons used the property for a dwelling at the time of the alleged crime, and not necessarily that a person was inside during the purported burglary. The law also considers properties that become abandoned due to local emergencies or natural disasters as currently inhabited as well.
A second-degree burglary occurs when you break into a property that does not qualify as an inhabited dwelling. Examples of properties that would not qualify as dwellings include retail stores, convenience stores, local businesses, etc.
Penalties for burglary
As a felony offense, the penalty for first-degree burglary in California includes a maximum fine of $1,000, restitution to the victim and/or his or her family, probation and up to six years in jail. Depending on the circumstances of an offense, California may classify second-degree burglary as either a felony or misdemeanor. This means you may face up to one year in jail, probation and fines, or up to three years in state prison, fines and probation for a second-degree burglary conviction. The courts may also order you to pay restitution to the victims.
Burglary charges can adversely impact your or your child’s life and future. Minimize their impact by taking decisive action to combat them sooner rather than later.