The most common way a person commits burglary is by entering a building with the intention of committing theft. For example, if a person enters a store with the intention of stealing an item on display, that person has committed a burglary. Burglary can also be committed by entering vehicles or certain storage areas with the intent to commit theft. A person also commits burglary if he enters any of these areas with the intention of committing any felony. For example, if a person enters a building with the intention of committing felony vandalism, that person has committed a burglary.
In California, burglary is categorized into two degrees. First degree burglary, also known as residential burglary, is when a person enters someone's dwelling (e.g. house, apartment, houseboat, etc.) with the intention of committing theft or any felony. First degree burglary is a felony punishable by two, four, or six years in state prison. It is also a "strike" under the California Three Strikes Law.
All other kinds of burglary are of the second degree. Second degree burglary can be charged either as a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of a year in jail, or as a felony punishable by sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. Second degree burglary is not considered a "strike" under the Three Strikes Law.
The laws and issues surrounding a burglary charge can be quite complex, requiring the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Do not go to court without consulting with a qualified attorney regarding what issues and defenses may be present in your case. As a former prosecutor and defense attorney who has handled hundreds of burglary cases, Christian Kim has the experience needed to provide an intelligent and aggressive defense.