Burglary is a serious felony offense in Washington State. When you’ve been charged with burglary, it’s critical to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney to begin working on your case. For a free legal consultation with a well-established attorney in Washington, consult Daryl Graves Law, PLLC.
Types of Burglary Charges
Washington recognizes four burglary-related offenses and provides specific punishments for each in Chapter 9a.52 of the RCW. Unlike theft, burglary usually involves intent to commit the crime, and must occur in a residence or structure of some kind.
- Burglary in the first degree — The statutes state that a person has committed burglary in the first degree “if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building and if, in entering or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, the actor or another participant in the crime (a) is armed with a deadly weapon, or (b) assaults any person.” This is class A felony, punishable by life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
- Residential burglary — The offense is considered residential burglary “if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, the person enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling other than a vehicle.” This is a class B felony, punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
- Burglary in the second degree — This charge is less severe than the prior two offenses because the suspect is not armed and is not burglarizing a home. Someone commits second-degree burglary “if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building other than a vehicle or a dwelling.” This is also a class B felony, but the courts inflict less harsh penalties for it than residential burglary.
- Possession of burglar tools — Fabricating or being in possession of a burglar tool “under circumstances evincing an intent to use or employ” it, is considered a gross misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. These tools can include items such as false keys, pick locks, bits and nippers.
Defenses to Burglary Charges
Our defense team has been representing clients who have been charged with serious crimes in Washington since 1979. We have developed an arsenal of defenses and strategies that can be very instrumental in burglary cases. In cases of actual innocence, we can expose the flaws in the prosecutor’s case, present evidence to support your story (e.g., an alibi), and sow seeds of doubt in the jury members’ minds.
Another defense that we may use is to negate one of the elements necessary to bring a conviction. For example, we might argue that you were authorized to enter the property or that you had no intent to commit a crime. If the prosecution brings evidence, we can try to refute the viability of it, such as questioning the scientific reliability of the forensics.
We believe that criminal charges are actually a symptom of the bigger picture in a person’s life. When you decide to retain us, we will offer you the counsel and representation you need, without judgment and without prejudice. It’s our aim to make sure you rights are upheld, that you exercise your rights and that your side of the story is brought out in the best possible light.
Charged with burglary? Let our defense team fight on your behalf.
Our burglary defense attorneys at Daryl Graves Law, PLLC are here to help if you’ve been charged with a burglary-related crime. When you enlist our help, we will work towards mitigated charges, a dismissal or an acquittal, depending on your situation. Call us today for a free consultation at 253-383-7777.