Updated on June 19th, 2023
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The easy answer is yes. The term “breaking and entering” is something that a lot of people ask about any may hear on television. However, technically there is no criminal charge in California for “breaking and entering.”
Burglary law in California ( Break and entering defined)
To be guilty of Burglary, the prosecution has to prove that Defendant simply entered a building with the intent to commit theft or a felony within the building. For example, a common burglary charge occurs when an individual is arrested attempting to shoplift and the police find a “shoplifting tool” that the Defendant brought with him or her to the store. The prosecution will then often charge the individual with burglary and use the possession of the tool to prove that the Defendant entered the store with the intent to commit theft.
Due to the fact that Burglary only requires entering the building with the intent to commit theft, technically, someone can be charged with burglary even if they did not commit theft inside the building. The crime occurs upon entering the building with the requisite intent. Whether the actual theft is committed is another possible charge.
This intent requirement makes Burglary a very unique criminal charge in California because it requires the prosecution to prove what was inside the Defendant’s head at the time he or she entered the building. This can be done with circumstantial evidence, such as the possession of a tool as described above.