Burglary in California is an entry into a building or certain enclosure intending to commit a theft--petty or otherwise--or a felony while inside. There is no requirement that you use force to enter the structure; only that you enter it unlawfully and with the intent to commit a serious crime or any kind of theft.
A “structure” includes a house or apartment, office building, shop, store, warehouse, airplane, boat, car, rail car, or barn.
This is a felony offense and typically involves entering a residence or any other structure that is inhabited or used as a dwelling such as a camper or trailer. Entering can include merely reaching inside a structure.
Your intent to commit felony inside can be evidenced by any tools considered “burglary tools” such as a crowbar, pliers, bags, or other similar instruments designed to take property or to commit a serious assault or other felony offense.
The punishment for a First Degree Burglary ranges from probation to 12 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000. It also qualifies as a “strike” under the Three Strikes Law regardless if you committed or intended to commit a crime of violence.
You are not guilty of burglary if you entered a structure with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, other than a theft, such as a simple assault. You also need not have committed the felony; only that you intended to do so.
The prosecution must also prove that you had the intent to commit a theft or felony upon entry. If you reasonably believed you had permission to enter a residence, you may not be convicted.
There are considerable enhancements if someone was in the residence when you committed the burglary for this is considered a violent felony. For every violent felony committed within the prior 10 years, you can receive an added 3-year prison term.
Should you be convicted of felony burglary, first or second degree, and you receive a state prison sentence, you face an enhancement of a one-year prison term for each prior felony conviction if committed within the prior 5 years.
An additional 1-2 year enhancement can be imposed if the person inside a residence was under 14 or over 65; blind or deaf; developmentally disabled; or a paraplegic or quadriplegic.
This offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony and usually involves an unlawful entry into a commercial premises. A shoplifting offense can be a second degree burglary if it is proved that you entered intending to commit a theft, although a defense could be that the intent was not formed until after the legal entry was made.
If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Robbery is a felony offense in California as it involves the taking of someone’s property by force or against their will or by the threat of force. The value of the item taken is of no significance. The offense contains a first degree and a second degree charge.
Robbery requires that the item or property taken have been carried away, no matter how slight, even if the item is returned to the victim so long as it was taken with force or the victim had a reasonable fear of force being used. Also, the victim must have had an ownership or possessory interest in the item taken.
The fear element can be satisfied even if the victim is unconscious if the defendant took the item without the person’s consent and did some act to render the person unconscious, such as by spiking their drink or knocking them out.
You might be innocent of robbery if you reasonably believed the property taken belonged to you, although you could face charges of assault, battery, or use of a deadly weapons charge depending on how you acquired the item.
This is a felony offense. It includes serious offenses such as robbing a commercial vehicle, invading a home and robbing the inhabitants, and robbing people at an ATM.
The penalty is possible incarceration for a 3, 4, or 6-year state prison sentence. If at least 2 other people participated, you could face 3, 6, or 9 years of incarceration.
Any other burglary is a second degree felony and carries a sentence of 2, 3 or 5 years in state prison.
Robbery is subject to certain enhancements. If the victim suffered a significant injury, you face an additional and consecutive sentence of 3-6 years. If you committed the robbery while a member of, or for the benefit of, a criminal street gang, you face an additional 10-year prison sentence on top of your robbery sentence.
You also face a 10-year enhancement for using a gun in commission of a robbery; 20 years for firing a weapon; and 25-years to life if you killed or seriously injured someone with a firearm.
Robbery is also a violent crime and will result in a “strike” on your record. A second strike subjects you to doubling your sentence. A third strike is a mandatory 25-years to life sentence.