What is Burglary?
Burglary is a serious crime in Washington state. It is a felony and people found guilty of burglary could spend years in jail. If you have been charged with burglary you can increase your chances of getting a better outcome by hiring an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Different Types of Burglary?
In Washington state, there are three types of burglary. All three require that a person enter or remain in a building without permission. They also all require that the person who unlawfully entered the building had the intent in their mind to commit a crime — any crime, not necessarily burglary — on the premises.
- Burglary in the first degree also requires that the person (or someone participating in the crime with the person) had a deadly weapon or assaulted someone while in the building, or while fleeing from the building. Burglary in the first degree is a Class A felony and the most serious type of burglary.
- Residential burglary is second in severity. It occurs when someone commits a burglary in any residence — except for a car — and is not carrying a deadly weapon, and does not commit an assault. Residential burglary is a Class B felony and is a more serious offense than burglary in the second degree.
- Burglary in the second degree may be the least serious type of burglary but, like residential burglary, it is a Class B felony. It is a burglary that occurs in any building that is not a residence and does not involve possession of a deadly weapon or an assault.
What is the Punishment for Burglary in Washington state?
The punishment for someone convicted of burglary in Washington is a complicated system and takes many factors into consideration. A good criminal defense attorney will help you understand and navigate the state’s criminal system and will help you get the best results possible.
Washington uses sentencing guidelines that take into account both the seriousness of the crime and the criminal background of the person who has been charged. However, even with the sentencing guidelines the punishment can vary in different courts within the state. That’s another reason why it is important to get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the local courts.
What is Intent?
Intent is a required element of all types of burglary; it must be proved the person intended to commit a crime. If a defendant’s attorney persuades a jury that the defendant did not have the intent to commit a crime, then the defendant will not be convicted of burglary. The defendant may still be convicted of a lesser crime such as trespassing.
The intent to commit a crime is what is important. Even if the intended crime was never actually completed a defendant who is found to have the necessary intent can still be convicted of burglary. For example, a person who breaks into a house intending to steal a television and who then hears a noise and runs off without taking anything can still be convicted of burglary.
If you are charged with second-degree burglary and you are a first-time offender with no prior felony convictions a typical sentence might be a few months in jail. However, judges also have the option, within the sentencing guidelines, to impose less jail time or no jail time at all for first-time offenders. You should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if this is applies to you.
An experienced and dedicated Washington criminal attorney who provides an aggressive defense can make all the difference in the outcome of a case. Contact the Twyford Law Office today and put our experienced team behind you!