Under Penal Code 459, burglary can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the nature of the offense, a person convicted of burglary may face probation, up to one year in the county jail, or incarceration in state prison for up to six years. Individuals facing burglary charges should never try to represent themselves in court with their reputation and freedom on the line.

Burglary under Penal Code 459


Some people are confused about what burglary is and what it entails. Essentially, burglary consists of:

  • entry of a building (business, residential or both)
  • for the sole purpose to commit a crime therein

Under the law, there is no requirement of breaking into the property, just an indication of entering, invited or not, with the sole purpose to commit a crime.


Commercial Burglary

Burglary of a place which is not a residential dwelling is classified as commercial burglary. Commercial burglary is considered to be a second degree offense and can be a misdemeanor or felony charge. If charged as a misdemeanor, a person convicted of the charge may face probation and up to one year in county jail. Depending on the facts and criminal record of the defendant, if charged with commercial burglary as a felony, the sentencing range in state prison is 16 months, two years or three years.


Residential Burglary

If the place entered by the defendant is an inhabited dwelling, the charge of first degree residential burglary will apply. Residential burglary is always charged as a felony and carries a sentencing range of two, four or six years in state prison. Residential burglary is a strike under California’s Three Strike Law and will serve to double the base sentencing for future felonies and lead to reduced earning of custody credits.


Potential Defenses in Burglary Cases

Several potential defenses exist in burglary cases including lack of criminal intent, mistake and false allegations or mistaken identity. If you have been charged with burglary in San Bernardino or Riverside County, contact an experienced attorney who can review the facts to see what defenses exist to the charges in order to secure a dismissal or work out a reasonable plea bargain before trial. Your lawyer will ensure that any evidence was collected properly by law enforcement and that any statements which may be used against you were obtained in accordance with your constitutional rights.

If you have been arrested for possession of residential or commercial burglary and need the help of an experienced criminal lawyer, contact us today for a free consultation regarding your situation.

Our Results Speak for Themselves

Client charged with possession for sales and gang enhancement. Client faced 16 years in prison with the gang and prior strike allegation. Client turned down 8 year pretrial offer with prior attorney before going to trial. Not guilty on all charges at trial. (People v. Antwan B.)

Client charged with attempt murder, accessory after the fact and gang enhancement after shots fired at a dwelling. Client turned down 15 year pretrial offer. During trial, plea deal reached for probation with time served. (People v. Rudy B.)

Client charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice when cops performed a probation sweep at her residence.  Client found not guilty on all counts at jury trial. (People v. Felicia M.)

Client charged with corporal injury to girlfriend after argument allegedly escalated. Client had significant exposure of 21 years because of prior strike, probation violation and GBI allegation. At trial, jury refused to convict client, returning hung verdict. (People v. Christopher P.)

Client charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale after traffic stop. Client claimed prejudice by prosecution’s delay in bringing the case to court. Motion filed on behalf of client asking the Court to dismiss the case as violative of client’s speedy trial rights. Motion granted and case dismissed. (People v. Shannon J.)