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The crime of burglary is divided into two categories: Commercial Burglary and Residential Burglary.

Residential Burglary is defined as the willful and unlawful breaking in and entering into any house, room, apartment, or tenement of another with the specific intent to deprive that person of his personal property or to commit any felony. CPC 459

This offense carries a maximum punishment of up to 6 years in state prison. However, as a first time offender, a defendant may be offered probation. Residential Burglary is also considered a “Strike” under the Three Strikes Law in California. (See Strike Cases). Conviction of a strike means that if a defendant picks up or accrues a new felony, he must serve at least twice the minimum term/punishment for the new felony.

Commercial Burglary is defined as entering into the shop, warehouse, store, mil, barn, stable, outhouse or other building of another with the intent to permanently deprive that entity of its property. CPC 459

Commercial Burglary may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is one-year in jail. Felony Commercial Burglary however is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months, two years, or three years in prison. A first time offender however will be granted probation if he or she admits guilt at an early stage of the proceedings.

Commercial Burglary is usually coupled with Petty Theft (See Theft Crimes) or Grand Theft (See Theft Crimes). There is a high likelihood that if you are charged with Commercial Burglary, that you will also be charged with either Petty or Grand Theft.