Burglary in the first degree

Residential burglary, also known as burglary in the first degree, is defined as the unlawful entry into a residence with the intent to commit a felony therein. The residence may be a house, apartment, hotel room or any other structure where people are living. Under California penal code 459, residential burglary is always charged as a felony. This type of burglary always occurs in a structure where the victim lives as opposed to a commercial establishment.

Residential burglaries are often referred to as “breaking and entering”, though a person may be charged with this offense even if there is no forced entry of a room or structure. An example of a burglary with no forced entry would be stealing items from an open garage. Probably the most common example of burglary would be breaking into a residence to steal jewelry, electronics, or other valuables.

Under the three strikes law in California, a conviction of residential burglary will result in a strike. Having a strike on your record will result in severe consequences on any future felony convictions, including doubling the prison sentence.

Penalties for residential burglary

Penalties will take into account of whether weapons were used and/or if anyone was injured or killed. A conviction for a charge of residential burglary carries a potential sentence of two, four or six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Enhanced Penalties

If a defendant is convicted of a residential burglary and either: (1) a person was present; (2) the defendant had possession of or used a deadly weapon such as a gun or explosives or (3) the defendant seriously injured or killed another person in the commission of the burglary, the charge will be considered a violent offense and the defendant will face enhanced penalties (such as an additional and consecutive prison term) that will be added on to their standard punishment.

Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman