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California Penal Code 459 PC Burglary

What are the factors or elements for 459 PC Burglary?

Under Penal Code 459 PC defines “burglary” is “entering a

  • Room,
  • Structure, or
  • Locked vehicle

with the intent to commit a felony (or, in some cases, a petty theft) once inside.”

Burglary is often referred to as “breaking and entering.”  But prosecutors can charge you with this offense even if there is no forced entry of a room or structure.  Only auto burglary requires an actual break-in.

Legal Consequences:

Burglary of a house, apartment, hotel room (or other structure where people are living) is always a felony in California. It is known as “first degree burglary” or “residential burglary.”

Penalties for first degree burglary include up to 6 years in state prison. This form of burglary also counts as a strike under California’s three strikes law.

Penalties for residential (first degree) burglary in California

Burglary of a house, apartment, hotel room (or other structure where people are living) is always a felony in California. It is known as “first degree burglary” or “residential burglary.”3

Penalties for first degree burglary include up to 6 years in state prison. This form of burglary also counts as a strike under California’s three strikes law.

Penalties for commercial (second degree) burglary in California

Burglary at a store, business (or any place where people are not residing) is considered “second degree burglary” in California.4 It is also referred to as “commercial burglary.”

(If you enter a store or other business while it is open during regular business hours, intending to steal items worth nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less, then you will be charged not with burglary but with the related offense of shoplifting under Penal Code 459.5 PC.)

Commercial burglary is a “wobbler” offense. This means prosecutors may elect to file the charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The choice of felony versus misdemeanor usually hinges on the circumstances of the offense and the person’s criminal record, if any.

As a misdemeanor, burglary charges carry up to one year in county jail. Felony commercial burglary can subject you to a jail sentence of up to 3 years.

Commercial burglary convictions…even felony ones…do not count as strikes under California’s three strikes law. 

California Penal Code 459 PC Burglary

How can we defend you against charges of California Penal Code 459 PC Burglary? 

There are several common defense strategies in a burglary case, such as:

  • It is a case ofmistaken identity.
  • You were present when other people committed the burglary, but you were not in on it.
  • You did not form the intent to commit a felony or theft untilafter you entered the building or room.
  • You took items from the building because you genuinely believed the owner had given you permission.
  • The items you took actually belonged to you. 

Contact us:

We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.

The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

Don’t bargain with your freedom! The right attorney makes all the difference between your freedom and incarceration!

Please CLICK HERE to visit our dedicated page on burglary charges for more info. 

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Case Results

  • DUI- REDUCED
  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- REDUCED
  • POSSESSION OF METH- DISMISSED
  • FELONY ARSON- RESOLVED
  • RESISTING ARREST- RESOLVED
  • POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA- REDUCED
  • PROBATION VIOLATION- RESOLVED
  • POSSESSION OF COCAINE- REDUCED
  • CONCEALED WEAPON- DISMISSED
  • DRUNK IN PUBLIC- RESOLVED
  • JUVENILE DRUG/WEAPON- RESOLVED
  • FELONY RAPE- REDUCED
  • DUI- Hung Jury
  • SOLICITATION OF PROSTITUTE- DIVERSION
  • POLICE EVADING- REDUCED
  • DUI- REDUCED
  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- REDUCED
  • FURNISHING ALCOHOL/MINOR- RESOLVED
  • RESISTING ARREST- DISMISSED
  • ACCIDENT DUI- DISMISSED
  • CANNABIS CHARGES- REDUCED
  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- DISMISSED
  • DRUNK IN PUBLIC- DISMISSED
  • PUBLIC INTOXICATION- DISMISSED
  • JUVENILE CASE- DISMISSED
  • PROSTITUTION SOLICITATION- DISMISSED
  • ASSAULT & BATTERY- DISMISSED
  • ARSON- RESOLVED
  • PETTY THEFT- COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • POSSESSION OF NARCOTICS- DISMISSED
  • FELONY MARIJUANA- MISDEMEANOR
  • FELONY WEAPONS POSS.- REDUCED
  • Felony Assault - JURY ACQUITTAL
  • Domestic Violence - JURY ACQUITTAL
  • Felonies - REDUCED to 1 MISD.
  • Felonies - REDUCED to 1 MISD. NO JAIL
  • Sex Felonies - REDUCED/NO JAIL
  • Prostitution - DIVERSION/NO JAIL
  • 2nd Theft - DISMISSED
  • Drug Felonies - NO JAIL
  • Driving Misd - REDUCED TO INFRACTION
  • Resisting Arrest - DISMISSED
  • Juvenile Sex Felonies - DIVERSION
  • Multi-ED CODE Charges - REMAIN IN SCHOOL
  • 3 VOP'S - ALL DISMISSED
  • 1st Degree Burglary - REDUCED

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