Burglary is the crime of breaking and entering a building with intent to steal something or commit a felony inside – even if the person or persons doing the breaking and entering end up committing the felony or not. As a result, California Penal Code §459 provides that the prosecution need only prove that the offender intended to steal something or commit a felony. The state does not have to provide that the burglary or felony actually took place.The law also describes two different types of burglary. First-degree burglary, or residential burglary, is a felony and a strike and carries with it a sentence of probation or 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison. For those convicted of first-degree burglary, probation can mean no prison time or up to a year in county jail. When you are granted probation, this means you could serve no time or get up to 365 days in county jail. “Strike” sentences require the offender to serve at least 85% of any jail or prison sentence.

Second-degree burglary, often called “commercial” burglary, generally occurs in a business—not in a home. It is not considered a “strike” offense. Charges of second-degree burglary can be brought against those who have the specific intent to steal something from a store or business when they walk in the door. The distinction between misdemeanors and felonies in second-degree burglary cases is based on the value of the property taken. If the value is under $400, it’s usually a misdemeanor – and a felony if over $400. The penalties for felony second-degree burglary can range from probation, or up to a year in county jail, to 2 or 3 years in state prison.

In many cases of burglary, the key issue is intent. The Law Offices of Mark Fredrick have significant experience in understanding the complexity of the law, its interpretations, and its application as it involves burglary.


When you are facing criminal charges the most important thing you can do is retain an honest, experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you. Call our office to make an appointment with Mr. Fredrick and he will spend the time to explain all of your legal options to you.