Commercial or Second Degree Burglary - PC 459

According to California Penal Code section 459, burglary is defined as an act of breaking and entering a structure with an intention to steal. The structures covered in his code include houses, apartments, residential rooms, and businesses. Other uncommon types of property that may also qualify as structures include – outhouses, tents among others. Any person who enters a non-residential structure or a business property with such motives is said to have committed an offence – commercial or second degree burglary. Under California law, commercial burglary may be filed under a misdemeanor or a felony.

To qualify for trial in California state jurisdiction, following conditions must be met:

  1. There should be sufficient evidence that the defendant deliberately entered a commercial building without permission.
  2. The defendant did so with the aim of to stealing.

So the prosecutor must prove that the accused entered the business building unauthorized and with an intention to steal.

What is the punishment for commercial burglary?

Under California Penal Code section 459, the jury or the judge will make their judgment based on the evidence presented to the court regarding the case. If found guilty under commercial burglary filed as:

  • Felony: It would attract a jail term of sixteen months or two and not exceed three years and a fine of a maximum of ten thousand dollars fines.
  • Misdemeanor: It would attract a maximum of one-year jail term and a maximum of six thousand dollars in fines.

In some cases, the court may grant probation to the defendant, but, there is no probation in burglaries that that involve inhabited buildings.

In California, there are specific laws and provisions for the sentencing of burglaries that take place at the time of natural disasters and other emergencies in the state.

What are the defenses to burglary charges?

If you are faced with burglary charges, there are various options you can pursue to defend yourself:

  • If you can prove that you had the permission to enter the building and the permission was given by the owner or the occupant at the time.
  • You can argue you were intoxicated or come up with any other reason that would absolve you from the specific intention to commit a crime.
  • The reason you were in the building was a result of entrapment.

If your intention was not to steal in the property, then you could face trespass charges after your charges are amended.

Second-degree burglary involves only commercial or business property, and it must be established that the defendant did not have the permission to enter the property. The prosecutor should also prove that the accused was intending to steal. If the prosecutor can prove the two claims, the defendant would be guilty of second-degree burglary. The judge orders them to pay a fine or sentence them to serve a jail term. The court can as well order the accused serve under probation.

The penalty for felony charges attracts longer prison sentences as compared to that of a misdemeanor.

Contact us to discuss the facts in your burglary case today.

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