Burglary Laws & Penalties in Washington: What to Expect
Most people's image of a burglar is a comical one — perhaps that of a black-garbed thief shimmying up a drainpipe with a burlap sack thrown over his shoulder. Unfortunately, in real life, it's not all that cartoonish. If you're caught or charged with committing a burglary, it's serious business with serious consequences.
The first step you need to take if authorities charge you with burglary is hiring a Washington burglary defense attorney. Your attorney will start at the bottom of your case and work tirelessly for the best possible outcome.
Because a burglary conviction can leave a felony charge on your record, winning your case — or at least minimizing your charges — is of utmost importance in protecting your rights and freedoms.
Burden of the Prosecution
Remember, the prosecution is in charge of proving your guilt. In order to do so, they must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Unlawful entry
- Criminal intent
Your lawyer will work to ensure the prosecution does their due diligence and will leave no stone unturned.
Burglary Punishments and Penalties
- Second-degree burglary occurs when a person enters or remains inside a building unlawfully with intent to commit a crime within. A Class B felony, it carries up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
- Residential burglary happens within a residence or living space, excluding a vehicle. This is also a Class B felony.
- First-degree burglary occurs when a person enters or remains inside a building unlawfully with intent to commit a crime. Additionally, the person is armed with a deadly weapon and/or assaults another person. This is a Class A felony, which can carry up to life in prison as well as up to $50,000 in fines.
Even just carrying burglary tools such as lock picks can net you a gross misdemeanor offense if the courts find intent.
If you're accused of burglary in Tacoma, Washington — no matter how minor you may think the offense may be — make your next decision a wise one. Contact a seasoned burglary defense attorney and get help immediately.