What is the maximum penalty for burglary with no actual theft in California? 5 Answers as of November 27, 2010

I am being charged with burglary under penal code 459. I broke into a building but did not actually steal anything. What is the maximum penalty I should expect?

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Law Office of Marc K. Herbert
Law Office of Marc K. Herbert | Marc K. Herbert
Commercial burglary happens when someone enters a building without permission with an intent to steal. The charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, usually depending on any prior convictions.

The fact that nothing was actually stolen does not provide a defense to the charge, if other evidence (such as a statement to the police) proves that intent. However, an experienced defense attorney should be able to help you in Court.

If you have other questions, please call my office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/27/2010
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
It depends on whether you are convicted of residential or commercial burglary. The first is much more serious and carries up to 6 years in prison with probation a disfavored sentence. Other burglaries of businesses etc. carry up to 3 years in prison but can also be punished by probation only. They can also be treated as misdemeanors. What you can expect depends heavily on the facts of the case and your prior record if any. By the way it does not matter whether or not you stole anything. Burglary only requires an intent to steal or commit a felony upon entry.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/24/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Burglary never requires an actual theft. In fact to commit a burglary you need only enter a dwelling or commercial business with the intent to commit a crime. However, when its a business then usually it's a theft related offense although it's not limited to this. The maximum penalty for a commercial or business related burglary is 3 years in state prison.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
There is a huge difference between what the maximum is and what you are likely to get. The maximum for commercial (second degree) burglary is 3 years in state prison. If it was residential, then the maximum is 6 years in prison. Residential (first degree) burglary is also a strike and it is presumed you are going to be sent to prison if convicted. What you are actually likely to get depends on the facts (specifically if they can prove it or not), your prior record if any and what your lawyer can work out for you.

Burglary does not require that anything be taken - just that entry was made with the intent to steal.

Of course, with no theft, proving that intent may be an issue. Because of the possible consequences, it is time to start looking for an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
The sentence upon felony conviction is 4 years, plus or minus 2, with no priors. The actual outcome is up to your attorney to negotiate. He can raise all available defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments for various suppression motions, plea bargaining or at trial. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a decent plea bargain for you. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
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