Residential burglary is deemed First Degree Burglary under Penal Code 459. It is defined as when an individual enters an inhabited dwelling with the intent to steal or commit another felony. A dwelling is an expansive definition, including a house, room, shop, warehouse, tent, railroad car, cargo container, etc...
First Degree burglary is categorized is a seriously and violent felony under the three strikes law.
In order for a prosecutor to meet his or her burden, the following must be established:
1) Defendant entered a dwelling
2) That was inhabited and
3) He had the intent to commit certain thefts or felony.
Under our case law, entering is loosely defined. For instance, it can consist of any part of the person's body entering the space or the person using an implement of some sort of entering the area even if his or her personal body part never crossed the threshold.
Furthermore, there are broad definitions of what constitutes a dwelling. Dwellings are interpreted very liberally, such as a phone booth, loading docks. However, if a dwelling has been abandoned, then the prosecutor may not be able to prove the second element.
In addition, if the defendant only formed the intent after entering a dwelling, and not BEFORE, then he's committed a theft.
Therefore, it's very important to seek all possible defenses to your case.
Consult with one of our attorneys before you go to court. You can contact us online or call 866-416-2161 to schedule a free initial consultation.