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Breaking and Entering Law Washington

Breaking and entering is a very serious crime in the state of Washington. The breaking and entering the law of the state defines the crime as "using force to enter a property without permission." The force can be categorized as minimal or brute- using little force to push open a door or using excessive force to ram it open. Regardless of the force used, the fact that entry into the premises was not allowed for the individual and they entered the property illegally is enough to classify the case as one of breaking and entering.

The law of Washington describes the act of breaking and entering in additional three ways, including the following:

  • Breaking into a property without proper authorization.
  • Entering a property without using force, such as walking through a door that is already propped open.
  • Staying in a property longer than the individual is allowed to do so. For example, an individual entering a store when it was open and remaining in the premises after the store closes for the day.

Intent To Commit Crime

Prosecutors must prove that the individual had an intent to commit a crime while on the premises. The intended crime is usually burglary, but can also be a simple misdemeanor such as tagging on the walls of the property. The mental state of the individual is very important when considering the intent to commit a crime.

Punishment for Breaking and Entering in Washington

In the state of Washington. breaking and entering law is usually clubbed in with burglary law. Depending on various factors such as the involvement of a deadly weapon or assault, an individual is either convicted of Burglary 1, Residential Burglary or Burglary 2. The punishment for breaking and entering in Washington are as follows:


  • Burglary 1: Anyone convicted of Burglary 1 will have to enter a building unlawfully. Another person will have to be injured due to assault by the convicted individual. Furthermore, the individual convicted of breaking and entering law or their accomplice will have to be carrying a deadly weapon of some sort. The individual convicted of Burglary 1 will have to face prison time of 15-20 months, community custody or probation between 1 to 3 years, and will have to pay a fine of an amount between $700 to $1200.
  • Residential Burglary: An individual convicted of Residential Burglary will have to break into a home with an intent to commit a crime, regardless of whether they go through with their plan or not. An individual convicted of Residential Burglary under the Washington breaking and entering law will be charged with prison time from 3 to 9 months, community custody up to a year, and a fine of an amount between $700 to $1200.
  • Burglary 2: An individual convicted of Burglary 2 under breaking and entering laws of Washington will have to break into a place which is not a residential property- for example, an office, a hotel, a place of business, or a warehouse. An individual convicted of Burglary 2 has to face prison time of 1-3 months, community custody of up to 12 months and will have to cough up a fine of an amount between $700 to $1200.

In a number of cases regarding breaking and entering laws, the charges that an individual has to face gets greatly reduced, usually to misdemeanor charges. Obviously, burglary charges get reduced to a simple misdemeanor charge quite a number of times. However, this depends on the individual case. Sentences for an individual case may not get reduced due to a number of factors including police interest in persecuting the individual, to the interest of the victim in pursuing the case.

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