Q:

What is the difference between first and second degree burglary?

A:

As of 2014 in California, first-degree burglary occurs at residences and second-degree burglary happens at commercial establishments where people do not live, according to Shouse California Law Group. Penalties for first-degree burglary are more than those of second-degree burglary, although laws change depending on state statutes, notes FindLaw.

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First-degree burglary carries a penalty of up to six years in prison in California, whereas second-degree burglary can be up to three years in prison depending on the circumstances of the crime. Second-degree burglary can be a felony or misdemeanor, based on a person's criminal record or past history, notes Shouse. Misdemeanor second-degree burglary has a one-year jail sentence.

First-degree burglary is also known as residential burglary, and second-degree burglary is also known as commercial burglary in California. Penalties are stiffer for residential burglary because there is a greater chance of harming someone living in the residence. The structure of a residence may be a house, apartment, mobile home, house boat or anywhere someone may live, according to the Law Offices of Seppi Esfandi.

As of 2014, other states have more than two degrees of burglary charges within their criminal codes. New York has an additional charge of third-degree burglary, notes FindLaw.

Maryland's penal code contains four degrees of burglary charges, and fourth-degree burglary is the only one listed as a misdemeanor, according to The Law Office of Raymond F. Anthracite. First-degree burglary in Maryland has a maximum 20-year prison sentence, as of 2014.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is aggravated burglary?

    A:

    Aggravated burglary is entering someone's house to steal something with the intent to commit another crime or while using or carrying a weapon. Not all states make a distinction between burglary and aggravated burglary. Some states allow for more serious punishment for burglaries committed with aggravating circumstances.

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    What is fourth degree burglary in Maryland?

    A:

    According to the criminal defense team of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White, fourth degree burglary is the act of being inside a house or building of another without permission. This also includes entering a person's yard without his permission with the intent to steal from his yard or the attached house.

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  • Q:

    What is first degree burglary?

    A:

    First degree burglary is defined as forcibly breaking and entering into someone's home, while persons are in the home, with the sole intent of committing a crime, as stated by attorney Adam R. Banner. The offender forcibly gains entry by breaking a door, window, wall, locks or bolts.

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  • Q:

    What is third-degree burglary?

    A:

    Third-degree burglary, known as burglary in the third degree, is the act of breaking into or unlawfully entering a building or automobile with the intent to steal something. In burglary in the third degree, the actual act of stealing does not take place because the individual is caught prior to stealing.

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