Residential Burglary/First Degree Burglary

First degree burglary is the breaking into of an inhabited dwelling with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein. Burglary is generally defined in Penal Code section 459.

“Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, railroad car, locked or sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle, trailer coach, as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, any house car, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, vehicle as defined by the Vehicle Code, when the doors are locked, aircraft as defined by Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code, or mine or any underground portion thereof, with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony is guilty of burglary. As used in this chapter, “inhabited” means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not. A house, trailer, vessel designed for habitation, or portion of a building is currently being used for dwelling purposes if, at the time of the burglary, it was not occupied solely because a natural or other disaster caused the occupants to leave the premises.”

Penal Code section 460 lays out the degrees of burglary.

“(a) Every burglary of an inhabited dwelling house, vessel, as defined in the Harbors and Navigation Code, which is inhabited and designed for habitation, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, or trailer coach, as defined by the Vehicle Code, or the inhabited portion of any other building, is burglary of the first degree. (b) All other kinds of burglary are of the second degree. (c) This section shall not be construed to supersede or affect Section 464 of the Penal Code.”

Unlike commercial/second degree burglary residential/first degree burglary is a serious felony in California, otherwise known as a “Strike.”  See the three strikes section of The Jacot Law Firm for a discussion of California’s three strikes law.  In addition to being a strike, residential/first degree burglary is also a violent felony under California’s sentencing law if a person was present in the inhabited dwelling.  This means that if someone is convicted of a first degree burglary with a person present they must serve eight-five percent of their prison sentence before they can be released on parole.

If you are in need of an experienced defense attorney with years of experience defending individuals accused of burglaries, contact attorney Lance Jacot at The Jacot Law Firm.