There are three different types of burglary under Washington law. These include Burglary in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree, and Residential Burglary. All of these are felony crimes, and if an accused is convicted of any of them, the potential consequences are very serious and include extensive jail time and significant financial penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary, it’s imperative that you contact a criminal defense lawyer now.

Burglary in the First Degree

There are three elements to this type of burglary. Please know that a prosecutor must prove all three for an accused to be convicted of this crime. The three elements are:

  1. A person unlawfully enters or remains in someone else’s property;
  2. With the specific intent to commit a crime against that person or his property; and,
  3. While entering or remaining in that property, the person, or an accomplice, is either armed with a deadly weapon, or, assaults a person.

Burglary in the First Degree includes entering or remaining in a home or dwelling; and, it also includes entering or remaining in other types of property (for example, a car, a boat, a mobile home, etc.).

Burglary in the Second Degree

There are two elements to Burglary in the Second Degree. As with Burglary in the First Degree, a prosecutor must prove both elements to convict a person charged with this crime. The two elements are:

  1. A person unlawfully enters or remains in a person’s property other than a dwelling or vehicle; and,
  2. The person has the specific intent to commit a crime against that person or his property.

This type of burglary, while serious, is the least severe of Washington’s three types of burglary charges. This is because an accused is not armed, doesn’t assault another, and doesn’t enter a person’s home.

Residential Burglary

This type of burglary involves two elements. As with the other burglary types, a prosecutor must prove both elements before an accused can be convicted of this crime. The two elements are:

  1. A person unlawfully enters or remains in another person’s dwelling other than a vehicle; and,
  2. Has the specific intent to commit a crime against that person or his property.

The definitions for all three types of burglaries come from certain Washington code sections.

Penalties for Burglary

The punishment for a burglary charge will vary depending on the type of burglary that a person commits. For example,

  • Burglary in the First Degree is a class A felony that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, a maximum fine of $50,000, or both.
  • Burglary in the Second Degree is a class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in a prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both.
  • Residential Burglary is a class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both.

Legal Defenses to Burglary

If you are facing a burglary charge, you must know that legal defenses to this crime do exist. The most common defense involves challenging a prosecutor’s proof of one or more elements of the specific type of burglary that you’re charged with. As an example, a common element within all three different types of Washington burglary charges is that the act must be done with a specific intent to commit a crime against a person or his property. If it can be shown that you did not enter or remain in a property with this intent, any burglary charge may be dropped or dismissed.

While legal defenses exist for this crime, it takes a skilled and experienced burglary attorney to successfully raise them. Black Law has the skill and experience that makes a difference. Our Seattle burglary lawyers have over two decades of combined burglary defense experience. They are passionate in their defense and take the time to make certain that you understand every detail within your case. Contact them now and get the legal representation you deserve.