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First Degree Burglary Conviction Can Mean Years in Prison. Work with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney from Our Firm.

Spokane Burglary Lawyer

Lawyer for Burglary Charges

Steve Graham was rated one of Spokane's top five criminal lawyers by the magazine Spokane - Couer d'Alene Living. If you or a loved one has been arrested for burglary in Spokane or eastern Washington, your future is at stake, and you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner. Depending on the level of the offense, burglary can bring mandatory prison time, and it can ruin a person's future employment prospects.

There are many defenses to a charge of burglary, and a criminal defense lawyer should leave no stone unturned. Attorney Steve Graham can provide the highest level of legal representation on these serious offenses based on his former years as a prosecutor, and his winning record as a defense lawyer.

Criminal Law Attorney for Burglary

Burglary is usually thought of as the unlawful entry into a building with the intent to steal or commit theft. However, under Washington law, burglary charges can be filed when a person enters a building unlawfully with the intent to commit any crime against persons or property. Burglary comes in three different levels: Burglary in the Second Degree, Residential Burglary, and Burglary in the First Degree.

Lawyer for Burglary in the Second Degree

Second Degree Burglary is defined in Washington law as entering or remaining unlawfully in a building of another with the intent to commit a crime against a person or property. This offense is a class B felony with a possible sentence of up to 10 years and a $20,000 fine. However the standard range sentence for the offense is 1 to 3 months jail time for an individual with no criminal history.

Under prior Washington law, a "breaking and entering" was required, but those terms are no longer used in Washington statutes. Oftentimes, a prosecuting attorney will attempt to charge a person for Second Degree Burglary when the true offense committed was actually a lesser charge, such as shoplifting or a theft.

If a person has been previously "thrown out" of a place of business and asked not to return, a prosecuting attorney will argue that returning to the store constitutes "unlawful entry" and any shoplifting thereafter constitutes burglary. An aggressive defense lawyer is needed to protect a citizen from such prosecutions. Applying the statute in that manner is certainly beyond with the state legislature envisioned when the burglary laws were enacted.

Attorney for Residential Burglary

Residential Burglary is defined as entering or remaining unlawfully in a residence or dwelling of another person with the intent to commit a crime. This offense is a Class B felony with a possible sentence of up to 10 years prison. However, the standard range punishment for this offense is 3 to 9 months in the county jail for a person with no criminal history. Under the law, a vacant home is a "dwelling," but an abandoned home is not.

People are sometime charged with burglary for entering their own home if a restraining order or protection order is in effect. It is the job of a criminal defense lawyer to consider making the request of the court that the jury be permitted to convict the defendant of a lesser offense such as Trespass. Police investigations into Burglary charges are often not very thorough. The police often do not take the time to dust for fingerprints, to examine and photograph footprints, to preserve security videos footage, or to talk to neighbors.

Lawyer for Burglary in the First Degree

Under the law, First Degree Burglary is defined as entering or remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent of committing a crime therein, and the offender or another participant in the crime assaults another person or is armed with a deadly weapon. Burglary First Degree is a very serious offense with a maximum punishment of life in prison. The crime is considered a violent offense, and is a "strike" for purposes of the three strikes rule.

The standard range punishment for a first-time offender under the sentencing guidelines is 31 to 41 months in prison. The offense is often brought against a defendant who appears at a person's house, starts a fight and assaults the victim in the entrance way of the home. The offense is also often brought against individuals who are accused of stealing firearms from residences.

Under this law, "armed" means that the weapon was readily accessible and available for use. There is no requirement under the law that the firearm be loaded. In counties that have drug court, such as Spokane and Okanogan, lower levels of burglary may be eligible, but cases of Burglary First Degree make the defendant ineligible.

Weapon Enhancements

As with most felonies, prosecuting attorneys often attempt to bring weapon enhancement charges against defendants. For the crimes of Burglary Second Degree and Residential Burglary, a deadly weapon enhancement brings an additional sentence of 12 months, and a firearm enhancement brings an additional sentence of 36 months. For the crime of Burglary in the First Degree, a deadly weapon enhancement brings an additional sentence of 18 months, and a firearm enhancement brings an additional penalty of 60 months.

An Aggressive Defense Lawyer is Needed

Because of his experience and training, Steve Graham has an exceptional understanding of the law in this area, and can defend people in an innovative and thorough manner. A serious crime such as burglary calls for an attorney that is aggressive and dedicated to your defense.

Free Consultation

If you would like to discuss your case with Mr. Graham, feel free to call. He does free consultations on criminal cases. You will simply receive his honest opinion, and he will listen and answer your questions.

Call (509) 252-9167. Calls are usually returned within a few hours.