Blog

What is an attempted burglary in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Attempted burglary california law
PC 21(a) says that an attempt occurs when a person: intends to commit a certain crime, and performs a direct act toward committing that crime.

Under California criminal law, a person is guilty of an attempted burglary if he:

  1. intends to commit burglary, and
  2. he takes some act towards committing the burglary (which can be theft or some other felony).

Examples of attempted burglary include:

  • Tom sneaks to the front of his neighbor's house with the intent to go inside and steal her diamond necklace, but he runs from the home after seeing a police car drive by.
  • Jerome buys a knife and intends to rob a bank, but he stops short of the business after seeing three heavily armed guards.
  • Lucile puts a hammer in her car and drives to her ex-boyfriend's home with the idea to steal his sounds system, but she drives off after seeing him approach the house with friends.

Under Penal Code 21(a), attempt is when a defendant:

  • specifically intends to commit a certain crime, and
  • performs a direct act towards committing that crime.

Under Penal Code 459, a burglary is when:

  • a person enters any residential or commercial building or room, and
  • does so with the intent to commit a felony or a theft once inside.

What is an attempted crime under Penal Code 21(a)?

PC 21(a) says that an attempt occurs when a person:

  • intends to commit a certain crime, and
  • performs a direct act toward committing that crime.

A defendant can even be guilty of attempt if he changed his mind about committing a crime and voluntarily abandoned all efforts to complete it. Only the intent and some act are necessary for a conviction.

Two examples of an attempt are:

  1. a man tries to commit the crime of rape against a woman, but she fights him off and escapes before he can actually engage in sexual intercourse with her, and
  2. a man puts a gun through the window of a car and demands that the driver exit the vehicle—but the driver speeds away, preventing the man from completing the crime of carjacking.

What are the penalties for attempt?

As a general matter, a defendant convicted of an attempted crime in California will face a prison/jail sentence that is half as long as the sentence he would have received if he had been convicted of the underlying offense.

This is true regardless of whether an accused is convicted of an attempted misdemeanor or an attempted felony.

If the crime an accused is alleged to have attempted carries a sentence of life in prison or the California death penalty, then he could be sentenced to five, seven, or nine years.

If a defendant is convicted of attempted murder that was willful, deliberate and premeditated, then he could be sentenced to life in prison.

What is burglary under Penal Code 459?

PC 459 says that a burglary occurs when:

  • a person enters any residential or commercial building or room, and
  • does so with the intent to commit a felony or a theft once inside.

Two examples of burglary are:

  1. John enters a woman's unlocked apartment with the intent to rape her in the bedroom, and
  2. Manuel enters a bank with the intent to commit check fraud once inside.

Note, in the above examples, that the rape and check fraud did not have to actually occur for the burglary to take place. All that was necessary was the entering and the intent.

What are the penalties for burglary?

California burglary law is divided into “first-degree burglary” and “second-degree burglary.” First-degree burglary is burglary of a residence. Second-degree burglary is burglary of any other type of structure (including stores and businesses).

First-degree burglary is a felony under California law. It is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for:

  • two years,
  • four years, or
  • six years.

Second-degree burglary is a wobbler offense in California, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year.

If charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by a county jail sentence of:

  • 16 months,
  • two years, or
  • three years.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370