Washington Burglary Laws

Burglary is just one of the several related property crimes in Washington. Like many crimes, what distinguishes burglary from other property crimes is the intent of the perpetrator. For instance, a burglar enters or unlawfully stays on property with the intent to commit a crime such as theft, but a trespasser enters property without such an intent. There are various burglary laws in Washington that reflect the different kinds of offenses. In addition to recognizing two degrees of burglary, the state also criminalizes the manufacture or possession of burglary tools, as well as burglaries that target homes ("residential burglary").

Washington Burglary Laws at a Glance

A good way to strengthen statutory comprehension is to read a straight forward explanation of the law in addition to referring to the original text. See the chart below for an overview of Washington's burglary laws, including links to the relevant statutes.

Statutes

  • Wash. Rev. Code Section 9A:52.025 (Residential Burglary)
  • Wash. Rev. Code Section 9A:52.020 (First Degree Burglary)
  • Wash. Rev. Code Section 9A:52.030 (Second Degree Burglary)
  • Wash. Rev. Code Section 9A:52.060 (Making/Possessing Burglary Tools)

Burglary Charges

 

First Degree Burglary

  • Elements of the crime: The individual enters or unlawfully remains in a building with the intent to commit a crime while being armed with a deadly weapon or assaulting any person.
  • Penalty: Punishable by a maximum life sentence and fines up to $50,000. (Class A felony)

Second Degree Burglary

  • Elements of the crime: With the intent to commit a crime against a person or property, the individual enters or remains unlawfully in a building other than a vehicle or a dwelling.
  • Penalty: Punishable by incarceration for up to 10 years and fines up to $20,000. (Class B felony)

Residential Burglary

  • Elements of the crime: With the intent to commit a crime against a person or property, the person enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling other than a vehicle.
  • Penalty: Punishable by incarceration for up to 10 years and fines up to $20,000. (Class B felony)
  • In establishing sentencing guidelines, residential burglary is considered a more serious offense than second degree burglary.

Manufacturing/Possession of Burglary Tools

  • Elements of the crime: If an individual makes or has tools such as false keys, lock picks.
  • Penalty: Punishable by up to 1 year in jail. (Gross misdemeanor)

Other Crimes Committing During Burglary

An individual who (in the commission of a burglary) commits any other crime can be charged for the other crime and for the burglary as separate offenses.

Possible Defenses

  • Lack of intent to commit a crime
  • Consent
  • Entrapment

Related Offenses

Criminal Trespass

Vehicle Prowling

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Washington Burglary Laws: Related Resources

Connect with a Washington Attorney About Your Burglary Case

Burglary can be a difficult crime to prove especially when it comes to evidence showing one's intent. If you've been accused of burglary in Washington, it's in your best interests to connect with a skilled criminal defense attorney as early in your case as possible to start challenging the evidence or even negotiating down the charges.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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