Can You Be Convicted of Burglary If You Didn’t Take Anything? PC 459

March 24, 2023

Burglary under Penal Code 459 is defined as the unauthorized entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a theft or a felony. Under this definition, a defendant can still be convicted of burglary even if they did not actually take anything from the building or structure.

The key element of burglary under PC 459 is the intent to commit a theft or a felony. This means that if a defendant enters a building or structure with the intent to steal something or commit another crime, they can be convicted of burglary, even if they ultimately do not take anything or commit the intended crime.

For example, if a defendant enters a home with the intent to steal money from a cash drawer, but is caught before they can take anything, they can still be convicted of burglary. Similarly, if a defendant enters a home with the intent to commit vandalism, but is caught before they can cause any damage, they can still be convicted of burglary.

In some cases, a defendant may also be charged with attempted burglary if they enter a building or structure with the intent to commit a theft or a felony, but are unable to complete the crime. Under Penal Code section 664/459, attempted burglary is a lesser included offense of burglary, which means that if a defendant is unable to complete the crime, they can still be found guilty of attempted burglary.

It is also worth noting that under California law, if someone is convicted of attempted or completed residential burglary, they will be considered a strike under the “Three Strikes” law. This means that if they are convicted of two other serious or violent crimes, they will be required to serve a minimum of 25 years to life in prison.

However, it is important to note that a defendant can also raise certain defenses to a burglary charge, such as claiming that they had the owner’s consent to enter the building or structure or that they were mistaken about the legality of their entry. An attorney can help a defendant to explore these defenses and present them in court.

Attorney John D. Rogers is an experienced criminal defense attorney. He is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His office is located in Newport Beach, CA and he represents clients throughout Southern California in state and federal matters. If you’re seeking legal representation for PC 459, give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call to schedule a free consultation.

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