In its burglary and trespassing laws, the State of Washington enumerates three types of burglaries. Those are burglary in the first degree, burglary in the second degree and residental burglary.
Burglary in the First Degree
Pursuant to the Revised Code of Washington section 9A.52.020, a defendant is guilty of burglary of the first degree when, “with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she remains unlawfully within a building …” To be found guilty of this crime, upon entering the building, while inside or leaving it, the person or another participant in the burglary must be armed with a deadly weapon or have committed an assault somebody. First degree burglary is a class A felony, and it’s punishable by up to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000.
Burglary of the Second Degree
As per section 9A.52.030 of the Revised Code of Washington, somebody is guilty of burglary in the second degree when with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she remains unlawfully in a building other than a vehicle or dwelling. Burglary in the second degree is a class B felony. A conviction carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $20,000.
If a person enters or remains in a dwelling other than a motor vehicle unlawfully, with the intent to “commit a crime against person or property therein,” he or she is guilty of the class B felony of residential burglary. Section 9A.52.025 of the Revised Code of Washington allows residential burglary to be considered as a more serious offense than a burglary of the second degree. That’s because nobody breaks into courthouses, but legislators, judges and private citizens own homes. Nobody wants somebody breaking down a door or coming in through a window to burglarize a home, especially when everybody in the home is in bed. The propensity for a self-defense shooting death increases significantly with residential burglaries. Many people keep guns in their homes specifically for defending their families or property against burglars.
If somebody enters or remains in a building, he or she can be determined to have the intent to commit a crime there against a person or property inside of it. That’s a question of fact to be decided by a judge in a bench trial or a jury in a jury trial.
Two of the most common defenses to burglary charges are intent and authorization to enter the premises. Both defenses turn on the facts of the case. Misdemeanor trespassing might be a more appropriate charge, especially for a first offender.
Contact a Spokane Criminal Defense Lawyer
In a courtroom, there are two sides to every story. We want to hear your side. You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case review. We’ll listen to your side of the story carefully, answer your questions and advise you of your legal options. Remember that if you’re accused of a crime, you’re not required to give the police any information. Invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and insist on having an attorney present during any interrogation. We’re experienced, effective and respected by both judges and prosecutors. If you’ve been arrested on a burglary charge anywhere in or around Spokane, contact us right away to speak with a Spokane burglary defense attorney from our offices.