Cases involving home invasion are becoming more and more common these days, but this story is particularly disturbing considering it involved a young girl. On the 1200 block of Ranchero Way in San Jose, a 10-year-old girl happened to be at home when 2 men knocked at her door. Unaware that they wished her any harm, the girl opened the door, allowing the men to force their way into her home. There, one of them allegedly held a gun to her head while the other stole various pieces of valuable property, including cash. The suspects remain at large.
In the state of California, there is a distinct difference made, by law, between the crime of ‘robbery’ and the crime of ‘burglary.’ In order for a particular violation of the law to be considered ‘robbery’ (CA Penal Code 211), property must be taken from a person, against their will, and from their immediate presence. Force and fear must also have been used. ‘Burglary’ (CA Penal Code 459), on the other hand, involves actually entering a building, vehicle, or room for the express purpose of committing a felony.
There are two different types of California burglary, first-degree and second-degree. First degree (often referred to as ‘residential burglary’) is always treated as a felony offense. Penalties include up to 6 years in state prison, and a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. A crime may only be considered ‘burglary’ if the perpetrators entered a structure that is inhabited, like the girl’s home above. An inhabited structure is defined as any place where a person sleeps or lives.
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