What You Need To Know About
Burglary Charges In California



In California, burglary is defined as entering a room, structure, or locked vehicle with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) therein. Only auto burglary requires an actual break-in, therefore you can be charged with burglary even if you did not forcibly enter a room or structure. 

There Are Two Types of Burglary

1. First Degree Burglary (Residential Burglary)

When a burglary takes places in an inhabited dwelling (e.g. house, apartment, houseboat, etc.) First-degree burglary is always charged as a felony.

2. Second Degree Burglary (Commercial Burglary)

When a burglary occurs at a store or business establishment (non inhabited dwelling). Second-degree burglary is known as a “wobbler” offense. Meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.

Note: CA Penal Code 459.5 (“Shoplifting”) is defined as entering a commercial establishment, while it is open with the intent to steal items worth less than $950 or less. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor in California.




There are a number of defenses that may apply to your case. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Lack of Intent – If you did not have the intent to commit a crime.
  • Mistaken Identity – If someone mistook you as the person that committed the burglary
  • Rightful Owner – You were reclaiming an item that rightfully belonged to you 
  • Consent – The person who owned the item consented to you taking it

If you have been charged with burglary, call Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Ese Omofoma, to discuss your matter.

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