Theft is one of the more common criminal offenses in California, and there are numerous different kinds of property crimes people can commit. Burglary involves someone entering a business or home without the consent of the owner or manager with the intention to take property or money from those facilities.
Although burglars often steal from people while they are not home or from businesses after their hours of operation, no theft is necessary for the state to pursue burglary charges.
How California defines burglary
Burglary involves the act of entering the property with the intention to steal. Burglars often wait for hours for an opportunity. They could enter a semi-vacant home during a real estate showing and hide until everyone leaves. They might climb into the rafters of a big box store or hide in the shelving of a massive warehouse after entering the facility during business hours with the intent of roaming uninhibited after the workers leave.
If the homeowners return or security guards catch someone in a house or business without permission or after operating hours, simply being there without permission could be grounds for burglary charges under California law. A person doesn’t need to have someone else’s property in their possession to face burglary charges. Security camera footage or witness testimony that places someone at the scene of a burglary could also lead to charges even if law enforcement cannot find stolen property on that person.
Understanding the unique language used to define California property crimes is important if someone has accused you of a theft offense like burglary.