The crime of burglary is defined broadly as breaking and entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony therein.
In California, the crime of Burglary can be charged as either first degree burglary or second degree burglary. A person is liable for first degree burglary if they break into a residence. A person will be charged with second degree burglary if they break into any other structure, such as a store or business.
First degree burglary is considered a “serious” or “violent” felony. Defendants who are convicted of first degree burglary can be sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison. Conviction of first degree burglary will result in a “strike.” Under California’s “three strike” rule, a person who accumulates three strikes is subject to twenty-five years to life in prison.
One of the key elements that the prosecution must prove to convict someone of burglary is the “intent” element. The prosecution must prove that the defendant entered the structure with the intent to commit a felony once inside. What that means is if the defendant’s attorney can show that the defendant did not intend to commit a crime once they entered the structure, they will have a valid defense, negating the charges.
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