Burglary and Domestic Violence
In domestic disputes, it is not uncommon for a person to obtain a protection order prohibiting an estranged family member or romantic partner from contacting the person or entering the protected person’s home. If the person restricted by the protection order violates the order, it can result in serious charges, including burglary and domestic violence. A burglary-related domestic violence conviction can have long-lasting effects on every aspect of your life. If you are charged with burglary and domestic violence, it is essential to meet with a proficient Tacoma domestic violence attorney to discuss your case. At Smith & White, we defend people charged with burglary and domestic violence throughout Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.Burglary and Domestic Violence
RCW 10.99.020 defines domestic violence as a crime committed by a person against a member of his or her family or household. Family and household members include spouses, former spouses, people who are dating, and people related by marriage or blood. Burglary is one of the specific crimes listed in the domestic violence statute as a crime of domestic violence.
Under Washington law, there are three distinct burglary crimes. Burglary in the first degree, which is defined by RCW 9A.52.020, occurs when a person unlawfully enters a building with the intent to commit a crime and either assaults a person or is armed with a deadly weapon while in the building. Burglary in the second degree, defined by RCW 9A.52.030, occurs when a person merely enters a building unlawfully, with the intent to commit a crime while in the building.
Residential burglary, which is the crime often charged in burglary domestic violence cases, differs from burglary in the second degree in that it specifically involves the act of unlawfully entering a person’s home, as opposed to a non-residential building, with the intent to commit a crime. In many burglary and domestic violence cases, the crime allegedly committed during the burglary is a violation of a protection order, and the mere act of entering the home is a crime in and of itself.
If you are charged with burglary and domestic violence, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can explain the implications of your charges and the penalties that you may face if you are convicted.Penalties for a Burglary and Domestic Violence Conviction
The penalties imposed for a burglary-related domestic violence conviction vary depending on the severity of the charge. Burglary in the second degree and residential burglary are both class B felonies, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Burglary in the first degree is a class A felony, which is punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of $50,000.Defenses to Burglary and Domestic Violence
If a burglary charge is based on a violation of a protection order, a defendant may be able to avoid a conviction if the protection order does not explicitly prohibit the defendant from entering the premises where the burglary allegedly occurred, and the defendant had the victim's consent to enter the premises. For example, if a protection order merely prohibits a defendant from contacting the victim, and the defendant enters a home that he or she shares with the victim when the victim is not in the home, the State may be unable to prove that the entry was unlawful, as required to prove the crime of burglary.Meet with a Trusted Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Tacoma
If you are facing charges of burglary and domestic violence, it is crucial to meet with a domestic violence defense lawyer who can assist you in developing persuasive arguments in your defense. The knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White can provide you with a vigorous and thorough defense to help you seek a favorable outcome under the facts of your case. Our main office is in Tacoma, and we can meet by appointment at our secondary office in Vashon. We can be reached through our online form or at 253-203-1645 to set up a free and confidential meeting regarding your case.