CA Penal Code Section 459 PC: Burglary

California Penal Code Section 459 PC Burglary

Privacy and safety are two of California’s most fundamental rights for residents and business owners. When people commit crimes that violate these rights, including burglary, the police and prosecutors respond with the full force of the law. A burglary conviction carries harsh penalties and can impact a person’s future for years. If you were arrested for or charged with burglary in Los Angeles, don’t try to handle your case on your own.

L.A. criminal defense lawyer Justin E. Sterling knows the stakes are high in burglary cases and will work aggressively for the best possible outcome for your situation. Here’s what you need to know about burglary under California Penal Code Section 459 PC. 

Burglary in California – Section 459 PC

California law defines burglary as entering a locked vehicle, room, or building with the intent to commit any felony or theft. The law splits burglary into two categories: 

  • First-degree burglary – Also called residential burglary, first-degree burglary happens when someone illegally enters a residence to commit theft or another felony. This includes houses, apartments, and any place where people live. First-degree burglary is a more serious crime because the offender invades someone’s personal living space. Convictions for first-degree burglary can lead to stiffer penalties, including longer prison sentences.
  • Second-degree burglary – Otherwise known as commercial burglary, this crime occurs in places like stores, businesses, or buildings not used for living. Although second-degree burglary is a less severe offense than residential burglary, it still comes with harsh penalties, including jail time.

When it comes to being charged with burglary, it doesn’t matter whether any items were stolen. The intent to commit theft or a felony upon entry is enough. 

Penalties and Consequences

A first-degree burglary conviction in California is a felony. It can lead to up to six years in state prison and counts as a strike under the California Three Strikes Law. Second-degree burglary can be a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor, it may result in up to one year in county jail. As a felony, it can lead to up to three years in state prison.

Both types of convictions can result in probation, fines, restitution to victims, and a permanent criminal record, potentially impacting employment and housing opportunities for offenders. Those convicted of burglary also lose some of their civil rights, including the right to vote, though they automatically regain their voting rights upon completion of their sentence.

Defending Burglary Charges – Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Working with an experienced and capable attorney is vital if you face burglary charges in Los Angeles. Attorney Justin E. Sterling’s extensive experience within the California legal system includes over 70 jury trials and many other cases. Sterling and his team of legal professionals and investigators can examine the evidence against you, look for weaknesses or procedural errors in the prosecution’s case, and negotiate for reduced penalties or charges on your behalf. If your case goes to trial, you can count on our firm to provide a vigorous, strategic defense to secure the best possible results.

Contact a Los Angeles Burglary Defense Attorney Now

California takes burglary cases seriously. You need a serious lawyer to protect you from the harshest consequences. Contact The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling for a free consultation with a Los Angeles burglary lawyer.