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Burglary and Domestic Violence

Attorneys Defending Residents of Tacoma and the Surrounding Areas

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.

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika