Burglary is a felony offense in Washington State, with very serious penalties and consequences. There are four separate burglary-related statutes in Washington. Violations of these statutes each carry separate, specific penalties. If you are charged with one of these offenses, it is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Given the seriousness of the charges, you will need skilled, experienced, high quality legal counsel.
Burglary in the first degree (RCW 9A.52.020): A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein (residence or non-residence), 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.
- Penalty: Burglary in the first degree is a class A felony, punishable by lengthy periods of incarceration including up to life in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both a fine and prison time.
Residential burglary (RCW 9A.52.025): A person is guilty of 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.
- Penalty: Residential burglary is a class B felony, punishable by prison sentences up to 10 years and/or fines up to $20,000. In establishing sentencing, residential burglary is to be considered a more serious offense than second degree burglary.
Burglary in the second degree (RCW 9A.52.030): A person is guilty of burglary in the second degree 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 the least severe of the burglary offenses because it does not include burglarizing a home and the accused is not armed. However, it is still a felony charge.
- Penalty: Burglary in the second degree is a class B felony, punishable by prison sentences up to 10 years and/or fines up to $20,000. In establishing sentencing, burglary in the second degree is to be considered a less serious offense than residential burglary.
Possession of burglar tools (RCW 9A.52.060): A person is guilty of making of having burglar tools if they make or have in their possession any tool that is commonly used for burglary (crow-bars, lock pit, false key, dynamite torches, etc) under circumstances indicating an intent to use or employ.
- Penalty: Making of having burglar tools is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
It is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today if you or someone you love have been charged with a burglary-related crime. The elements of the definitions listed above must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes unlawful entry and criminal intent. You will need a knowledgeable attorney with experience and expertise to challenge your case effectively. Penalties and consequences are severe and potentially life-changing – There is no time to waste. Contact us for a Free Consultation so we can get started advocating for you, working hard to achieve the best possible outcome. We will carefully review all facets of the case as well as circumstances surrounding the case.