In California, penal code 459 generally defines the crime of burglary as:

  • A person entering an inhabited dwelling house, residence, or commercial building
  • With the intent to commit grand theft, petty theft, or any felony
Burglary: First Degree vs. Second Degree

Burglary is divided into two levels:

  1. First degree burglary, and
  2. Second degree burglary.

First degree burglary is the burglary of an inhabited dwelling house or residence.

Second degree burglary is the burglary of all other kinds of structures.

Burglary Criminal Penalties

First degree burglary is a felony, and a conviction will result in two (2) years, four (4) years, or six (6) years of state prison.

Second degree burglary is a “wobbler”, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.

If convicted as a felony, you can be sentenced to county jail for sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years.

If convicted as a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to county jail for up to one (1) year.


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