In Washington state, a burglary comes with severe penalties. Being accused of burglary can be terrifying, stressful, and overwhelming. As such, it is crucial to find a strong criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Washington state has three types of burglary under law. They include the following:
- Burglary in the First Degree
- Burglary in the Second Degree
- Residential Burglary
Burglary in the First Degree
Burglary in the first degree is the most serious burglary-related offense in Washington state. According to RCW 9A.52.020, a person may be guilty of burglary in the first degree if they meet these conditions:
- Unlawfully entering and/or remaining in another person’s property
- Having the intention to commit a crime against a person or their property
- While entering and/or remaining on the property, the person or another participant in the crime is (a) armed with a deadly weapon or (b) assaults any person
If convicted, this crime is considered a Class A felony and is punishable with lengthy periods of incarceration that may include life in prison and/or $50,000 in fines. Furthermore, if this offense is committed with a firearm, five years of prison time in addition to the standard first degree burglary sentence range will be added.
Burglary in the Second Degree
This type of burglary is the least severe of the burglary offenses because it does not include burglarizing a home and the accused person is unarmed. However, this offense still has hefty penalties. A person may be at fault for burglary in the second degree RCW 9A.52.030 if the following conditions are met:
- Unlawfully entering and/or remaining in another person’s property other than a vehicle or dwelling
- Entering and/or remaining in the property with the intent to commit a crime against a person or their property
If a person is convicted of burglary in the second degree, the crime is considered a Class B felony. Penalties include prison sentences up to 10 years and/or fines up to $20,000. The court may also require restitution instead of a fine.
Residential burglary is in the same class as burglary in the second degree. However, it is considered a more severe offense. Unlike burglary in the second degree, residential burglary involves unlawfully entering a person’s home. Residential burglary, as defined in RCW 9A.52.025, includes the following:
- Unlawfully entering and/or remaining in another person’s dwelling other than a vehicle
- With the intent to commit a crime against a person or their property
Residential burglary is a Class B felony. Penalties include up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000. The court may also require a restitution instead of a fine.
How Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Represent You
Having burglary allegations made against you puts your future at risk and can leave you responsible for fines and a prison sentence if convicted. Hester Law Group can aggressively represent you in court and fight for your rights.
Defense strategies vary depending on the degree of the offense and the circumstances involved. The common elements of burglary offenses include unlawful entry of another person’s property and intention to commit a crime against a person or their property. Challenging these factors is a basic method of defense. Examples may include arguing that you did not enter the property unlawfully or that you may have entered unlawfully but had no intention of committing a crime.
If you have been accused of a violent crime like burglary, our attorneys are prepared to defend you in court.
We recognize the frustrations and fear involved in criminal allegations. Depending on the severity of the crime you have been accused of, you may face heavy fines, prison time, and other penalties. Additionally, a permanent criminal record could harm your future in terms of finding housing, employment, and other needs down the road.
Hester Law Group has over 130 years of combined legal experience. Our criminal defense attorneys will work aggressively to fight for your rights and provide support and guidance throughout the legal process.
Call (253) 300-3034 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.