The Difference between Burglary and Robbery in California

person burglarizing home

Are you confused about the difference between Robbery and Burglary? Robbery, burglary, theft and stealing are terms that seem to blend together for the general public.

The law in California makes a distinction between these crimes, and, if you are facing charges for either, knowing the important differences between the two can help better prepare your defense and best evaluate any potential plea bargains offered by the prosecution.

How burglary and robbery differ

If you have been accused of burglary, it will have been alleged that you entered a building with the intention of stealing valuable property. The type of building or property is irrelevant (it could be someone’s mansion, a suburban house, a trailer or even a tent or a car). The important distinction is the attempt, successful or not, to get in to somewhere and remove property that doesn’t belong to you.

Robbery is different as it involves using force or fear (or both) to take someone else’s property away from them personally. This can happen anywhere, even after you have broken into someone else’s house.

Still confused? Imagine that someone breaks into a store and steals some electronic goods. He or she takes the goods and leaves the store without encountering anyone else. That is a clear example of burglary.

What if you were walking down a sidewalk late at night and saw a little old lady coming in the other direction carrying a handbag. You approach her and pull her handbag away from her and run off. That is a clear case of robbery.

Penalties for Burglary

Under California burglary law, there are two main types of burglary:

  • burglary of a residential building, also known as first degree burglary;
  • burglary of a commercial or non-residential building, also known as second degree burglary.

Burglary of a residential building is regarded as the more serious crime and, depending on how much is stolen and whether you have offended before, a conviction will mean a greater penalty, up to 6 years in a state prison.

Burglary of a non residential building could still mean a jail term of up to 3 years.

If you have been accused of burglary, your criminal defense attorney may be able beat  your charge by getting the charges dropped altogether or get you a reduced sentence, depending on the evidence. For instance, if you entered a building and hadn’t intended taking anything your attorney could argue that you were not actually carrying out a burglary.

Penalties for Robbery

California robbery law recognizes three types of robbery:

  • first degree robbery. This is when you have been accused of robbing a person in a building, at an ATM machine, or in a taxi.
  • second degree robbery. This includes situations in which an accomplice is used, or when the accused uses weapons to carry out the robbery.
  • ‘estes’ robbery. This is when you use force or fear while trying to escape from a robbery. This might happen after stealing something in a store and then the employees try and stop you. If you then fight them or threaten them you could be charged with ‘estes’ and would benefit from speaking with a robbery defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest..

What is more serious, a burglary or a robbery?

Robberies are more serious crimes than burglaries as they involve a confrontation between you and someone else, whereas a burglary does not involve victims while the crime is occurring.

Basically, all types of robbery are considered felony crimes with several years of prison being a likely sentence, whereas if you are convicted of a second degree burglary you could end up with a misdemeanor conviction.

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Need assistance with your burglary charge? Our Southern California burglary defense attorneys have successfully represented numerous burglary defendants and will provide you with a free case evaluation. Our firm, the Law Offices of Randy Collins, has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and attorney Collins has a 9.9 out of 10 attorney rating..

The community is divided over the justification of shooting a burglar, in the back, after he exited the residence. The shooting occurred 100 feet away from the Anaheim Hills home of the intrusion. It all happened in the evening when the suspect attempted to break and enter a home. That attempt was unsuccessful for reasons that are unclear. Immediately following the spoiled first attempt he allegedly proceeded to burglarize the residence where again, the suspected burglar allegedly struck the homeowner across the face with a wrench. At that time the homeowner then retreated to his bedroom on another level of the house and retrieved a shotgun. The homeowner then chased the suspect who was not outside of the residence and fired his weapon, a shotgun of unknown caliber at the suspect; the injuries allegedly conclude that the weapon was fired at the suspect’s back.

Self defense is the natural plea when a burglar is shot upon unlawful entry into a house and this poses a deadly threat either with intention or a lethal weapon. A reasonable fear for ones own safety or the safety of the occupants of the residence will usually, in past cases, favor on the side of the homeowner. Does this still occur when the intruder has been confronted and subsequently left the scene?

Due to the nature of this unusual case the alleged burglar will be charged with a felony both in burglary and assault charges. These charges are for burglary and assault with a wrench. Additionally he has been charged with attempted burglary, for the unsuccessful attempt while trying to break into another home before his altercation with the homeowner. It was reported that his wounds were not life-threatening. The homeowner has not yet been charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Litigation will likely not be seen from the local DA’s office despite a civil case from the suspect being possible.

The suspect pleaded not guilty to his charges Monday afternoon at the Orange County Jail Complex in Santa Ana. The suspect’s bail was set at half a million dollars by Orange County Superior Court Judge Douglas J. Hatchimonji. The suspect also received a restraining order ensuring he does not go near the residences he is being charged with burglarizing.

Many people still believe in a myth that you are justified to shoot anyone who enters your home or property without permission. This is really not the case and laws vary very much in different municipalities. Using a firearm is not advisable unless there is an immediate threat to life. The best course of action is to call 911 or the local law enforcement and avoid confrontation or danger.

If you or your loved one has been charged with burglary you are encouraged to speak with an Anaheim Hills burglary attorney for a free consultation. The attorneys at MacGregor & Collins, LLP offer free case evaluations for anyone in the Orange County area. Call (800) 838-6644 to speak with an attorney today and find out what options you may have available.

Having assisted Orange County locals with their criminal charges for several decades, MacGregor & Collins attorneys have defended those facing countless different criminal charges. This is the first of what will be an ongoing look at burglary charges in Orange County, starting with Santa Ana, California.

In California, the crime of burglary requires that a person unlawfully break and enter onto a premise. While the term breaking and entering can encompass the typical breaking (or picking) of a lock to gain entry, it can also include more subtle forms of breaking such as bypassing or fraudulently obtaining a security code in order to unlawfully gain entry. Additionally, certain circumstances can constitute breaking and entering simply because the person entered or remained on the premises without the consent of the owner. The mere fact of entering without permission is sufficient to constitute breaking and entering.

A burglary may occur during the day. Although there is no longer a specific requirement that the breaking and entering occur at night in a dwelling, punishment for the offense is likely to be more severe if it does. This is because at night in a dwelling, there is a greater likelihood that the occupants of the dwelling will be present and suffer some harm as a result of the unlawful breaking and entering.

Recent Santa Ana Burglary Arrest

The Santa Ana Police Department has arrested a 29 year old man on suspicion of burglarizing several religious centers and businesses across Orange County. The man identified as Daniel Cortes was arrested after a short pursuit on Friday, May 17. He is suspected to have burglarized at least six churches located in Anaheim besides an Islamic Center in Irvine. All five business which he is suspected to have burglarized are located in Santa Ana.

On May 1, Cortes along with two other suspects were captured on a security camera at Forty Martyrs Armenian Church. They stole nearly $15,000 from the church. The police zeroed in on Cortes after watching the camera footage and receiving tips from the public. The other two suspects are still at large.

The second suspect is a bald medium built white man with a mustache and aged between 40 and 45 years. The third suspect is believed to be a thin Hispanic man sporting a goatee and aged between 35 and 40 years. The Santa Ana Police Department is on the lookout for the two suspects who are still at large. People with any information on the two suspects have been asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department.

Legal Repercussions for Burglary Offenses in Santa Ana

Under California law, burglary can be tried as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted of burglary offenses, a person can be sent to jail for up to six years. MacGregor & Collins’ burglary attorneys in Orange County advise all of those facing theft charges to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to avoid making costly legal mistakes.

night robberyLiving in Orange County has a wide variety of perks, but for several low-income families paying rent can become a burden that is too difficult to bear. With one of the highest costs of living in the Country, normally law-abiding families can take a turn for the worse when a life of crime begins to look like a way out. Under California law burglary can be tried as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted of PC 459, a person can be sent to jail for up to six years and/or face stiff penalties and fines.

California’s Burden to Prove Guilt

The crime of burglary requires that the person unlawfully break and enter onto the premises. While the term breaking and entering can encompass the typical breaking (or picking) of a lock to gain entry, it can also include more subtle forms of breaking such as bypassing or fraudulently obtaining a security code in order to unlawfully gain entry. Additionally, certain circumstances can constitute breaking and entering simply because the person entered or remained on the premises without the consent of the owner. Under most circumstances, the mere fact of entering without permission is sufficient to constitute breaking and entering. (more…)

Home Invasion Orange CountyThe Garden Grove Police Department has arrested a man in connection with a home invasion. The incident occurred on April 26, 2013. The man has been identified as Drew Stelp, a 51 year old resident of Moreno Valley. He is believed to be the brother of the female homeowner. He was recently released from an Arizona prison. (more…)

In California, there are two types of burglaries. Both are common by the fact that the  offender had entered a property with the aim to steal, or commit a crime.

They are separated by the location of the robbery, and if someone was there at the time.

First Degree Burglary is when someone was present or if the burglary took place at a residence. This type of robbery is punishable as a felony that subjects guilty parties to up to $10,000 in fines, and two, four or six years in prison.

Second Degree Burglary is when the robbery took place outside a home. It can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony:

Misdemeanor charges subject offenders to up to one year in jail, and up to six thousand in fines.

Felony charges (for second degree robbery) subjects offenders to 16 months, two or three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

It should be noted that felony or misdemeanor charges are determined by specific circumstances of the case, and the court will deliberate on these. These include:

  • If someone was injured as a result of the burglary
  • The level of injuries
  • If a weapon was used
  • Other factors of the crime

Added Note:

Burglary  under California Penal Code Section 459 is also regarded as housebreaking, or breaking and entering. The same penalties apply.

How to Hire a Orange County Law Firm for Burglary:

Choosing a lawyer may be the difference between proving your innocence or being convicted of a crime you were no part of. If you’ve been falsely accused of a burglary, call MacGregor and Collins at 949-250-6097 today.

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