Burglary Laws CA

California Burglary Laws

Burglary is one of the more common charges that individuals who commit theft face. This charge is connected to the loss of property and is taken seriously by all members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Individuals who are charged with this crime need to know the specifics and all of the potential associated penalties. Such knowledge can help them craft a good defense and secure a potentially beneficial plea deal.

What is Burglary?

California burglary laws according to California Penal Code Section 459 is one of a number of crimes associated with stealing property. Crimes such as larceny, robbery, and burglary all involve an individual taking the property of some kind that does not belong to them. Larceny is a crime associated with the theft of property that does not involve the use of force in any way. Robbery involves the use of force and taking money or property while directly facing the victim. California burglary laws apply to breaking and entering and taking property outside of the watchful eye of a victim. The most common form of burglary charges are for a burglary that occurs at a house. This crime, known as residential burglary, involves individuals breaking into a lock or going through a door and make off with the property of some kind. Residential burglary is different from commercial burglary. Commercial burglary involves breaking into and stealing from a business. The difference between burglary charges and a charge of breaking and entering is that burglary requires that the individual actually take property out of the house.

Laws and Penalties

The laws and penalties associated with burglary are stricter than those associated with some forms of theft such as larceny. Burglary may be violent in some instances and may be associated with felony assault charges. Even for those who are not committing violent acts while they break into a house or business, there is always the potential for violence. Victims are losing the safety and sanctity of their own homes and businesses. As a result, individuals convicted of burglary are often punished with either prison or severe fines.

Punishment according to California Penal Code Section 459 also depends on the nature of the crime and of its circumstances. Second-degree burglary is burglary where an individual has some sort of aggravating factor driving their crime. This aggravating factor for second-degree burglary may be the use of a weapon, a felony assault, or a history of committing burglary. The first-degree burglary involves a mix of these aggravating factors and can lead to prison terms of up to 3 to 10 years.

What to do

Anybody convicted of the crime of either second-degree or first-degree burglary needs to first go through the bail process. This process will involve an individual being arrested and forced to post bail in order to secure release from jail prior to their trial date. Individuals caught in this situation need to post bail as quickly as possible. If they do not have the money to post bail, they should contact a bail bondsman and have the bail bondsman get them out of jail. Once they are out of jail, they are in a better position to talk with their attorney and plan a defense.

A competent attorney will help individuals discuss the facts of the case and determine where a prosecution’s case is weak. This discovery is partially meant to help an individual make their case to a jury. However, it can also be effective in the plea deal process. The vast majority of criminal cases do not ever go to trial and are handled at the plea stage. Experienced attorneys know how to frame their situations and make the best possible case in order to secure a generous plea deal.


Property crimes such as burglary always need to be taken seriously by individuals. These cases can ruin a person’s life and career even if they do not result in jail time. Individuals need to know that securing representation as quickly as possible is essential for a successful resolution. If not, they risk minimizing perhaps the most dangerous criminal charges they may ever face.

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