In California, burglary is defined as physically entering a structure with the intent to commit petty theft or a felony while inside the structure. Physically entering into a structure is commonly called breaking and entering and is a crime in California.

How is Breaking and Entering Defined in the State?

Breaking and entering is defined as going into a structure or dwelling without permission of the owner. The entry may be forced or not forced. Examples of breaking and entering include: 

  • Breaking a window or lock to gain entry
  • Walking into someone’s unlocked property to take items
  • Going into a closed business to commit a crime
  • Walking into a private office to steal 

What Will the Prosecution Have to Prove to Convict Me of This Crime?

The state has to show a jury or judge two elements: 

  • The defendant entered a structure or property, including a home, locked car, or room within a property
  • The defendant entered with the intent to commit a felony or petty theft.

What are the Defenses to Breaking and Entering?

Defenses include: 

  • Consent to be on the property
  • Mistakenly entered the wrong property
  • No entry occurred

What the Punishment for Breaking and Entering?

Breaking and entering can be charged as first degree or second degree crime. First degree breaking and entering is a felony; it is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 6 years in prison. It also counts as a strike on the defendant’s record. 

Second degree breaking and entering is a wobbler and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a second degree felony, it is punishable by 2 to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Should Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Breaking and Entering Charge?

Yes, it’s vital to have legal representation to resolve this charge. Contact a California criminal lawyer immediately.