Under California law (Penal Code 459), burglary is defined as entering a
building, vehicle, vessel or cargo container with the intention of either stealing something or committing a felony. Under the law, the state does not need to prove that you succeeded in stealing or committing a felony; it must only prove that you intended to. There are two types of burglary in our state: Burglaries committed in someone’s home are first-degree burglaries, which are always felonies (residential burglary); all other types are second-degree burglaries that may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies (commercial burglary).
Because first-degree burglaries are always home invasions, the law provides for very severe penalties which can lead to a sentence to as much as six years in state prison. Furthermore, because a first-degree burglary is considered a serious felony in California they will be deemed to be a “strike offense.” That means you must serve at least 85% of your prison or jail sentence, regardless of good behavior or other circumstances. It also has serious consequences if you’re convicted of another felony later; your prison sentence automatically doubles on the second “strike,” and you must serve at least 80% of that sentence. On the third “strike,” you may be in prison for life.
For all of these reasons it is essential to retain an experienced California theft crime defense attorney at the Law Offices of Brianne Doyle so we can aggressively defend you from these serious charges.
Second-degree burglary is also called commercial burglary; it is generally charged when you are accused of entering any business establishment with the intent to commit a crime therein. To convict you of commercial burglary, the state must prove only that you intended to commit a crime when you arrived at the business; it doesn’t matter in what manner your entered. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in the discretion of the prosecutor. Generally, if you’re charged with in the intent to commit a crime where the value of the loss is less than $400, it will be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail. A felony commercial burglary conviction is punishable by up to three years in prison. Again, when facing such serious charges, hiring an experiences burglary attorney from the Law Offices of Brianne Doyle is a very good option.
The vast majority of our clients are able to resolve their case by either a dismissal or by a grant of probation and do not go to state prison. Of course what will happen in your case depends upon the facts of your case, your prior record and how soon after your arrest you retained our law firm to help you.