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What is First-Degree Burglary in San Jose, California?

 Posted on February 23, 2022 in Criminal Defense

shutterstock_576370024.jpg Burglary is the act of breaking into a private residence with the intention of stealing something. In California, this is a serious crime that can lead to consequences including jail time. There are two different classifications of burglary in the state of California — first-degree and second-degree. The legal ramifications that follow a burglary charge will depend on the degree of the crime. 

Differences between First and Second-Degree Burglary 

Many different criminal charges, including murder and fraud, are divided into the degree to classify the nature of the crime. This is the same for burglary charges. Burglary is classified as entering any private building with the intention of committing either grand or petit larceny (theft of personal property). Here are the differences between first-degree and second-degree burglary in California:

  • First-Degree Burglary — First-degree burglary is classified as entering an inhabited residence with the intention to steal. This includes homes and residential buildings such as apartments, houses, townhomes, motorhomes, barns and even personal stables. 

  • Second-Degree Burglary — Second-degree burglary is entering any other type of commercial building including businesses or store-fronts with the intention to steal.

What are the Consequences for First-Degree Burglary? 

Depending on whether the burglary is considered first-degree or second-degree, the level of consequences will change. First-degree burglary can result in two to six years in prison with a felony charge. Second-degree charges tend to fluctuate between felony and misdemeanor charges. A misdemeanor charge may result in one year of jail time, but a second-degree felony may result in up to three years in prison. 

Typically, burglary charges are coupled with other criminal charges that follow. For example, if a first-degree burglary occurred when someone was home and the perpetrator injured a resident, the charges could also include battery. In the case of second-degree burglary, shoplifting charges can follow if the burglary occurred when the store was open. 

Defense for First-Degree Burglary 

Although burglary charges often lead to severe consequences such as jail time, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to provide a strong defense depending on the situation. There are a few ways that burglary charges can be defended:

  • Lack of evidence for the case

  • No criminal intent for theft (which may reduce the charge to trespassing)

  • Mistaken identity/innocence 

  • Intent to return the taken items (denies the charge of theft) 

If you are facing burglary charges in California, it is in your best interest to contact a defense attorney that can help defend you. There are many reasons that may prove your innocence or reduce your charges or sentence.  

Contact a San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney 

At Fuller Law Firm, our San Jose criminal defense attorney Cory Fuller has over 10 years of experience defending his clients. Although burglary charges can be severe, our firm believes that bad decisions do not mean that a person is bad. We are prepared to help you develop a defense for your case today. For a free consultation, call us at 408-234-7563





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