In the State of Washington, the charge of burglary consists of the unauthorized breaking and entry into a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. Each of these elements forms the components necessary to establish a burglary charge. A defendant facing burglary charges needs a strong defense. Fortunately, defendants have several options available to counter a burglary accusation. These defenses range from claiming actual innocence to admitting the behavior in question but arguing that it didn’t in fact constitute burglary. If you’re charged with this crime, understanding common burglary defenses will help you at trial.
The most basic burglary defense and the one that most defendants will try is a claim of actual innocence. In other words, this defense involves convincing the court that the defendant didn’t commit the acts in question.
The prosecution bears the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, so in order to defeat a burglary charge a defendant must create a plausible doubt in the minds of the jury as to whether the prosecution’s evidence truly demonstrates that they committed the crime.
Defendants can call the prosecution’s evidence into question in many ways, such as by presenting an alibi or creating doubt as to the scientific reliability of a forensic technique. If the defendant can successfully sow the seeds of doubt among the jury, then an acquittal is likely.
Another defense tactic consists of admitting to the court that the defendant engaged in the behavior described by the prosecution, but arguing that it does not amount to a crime. Defendants commonly make the argument that they had the consent of the owner or occupier of the property to enter, thus there was no unauthorized breaking and entry. This is a particularly effective burglary defense under certain circumstances.
Since burglary also involves the specific intent to commit a crime once inside a building, voluntary intoxication can act as a defense to the degree that it prevented the defendant from forming the required intent.
Lastly, the defendant could argue that someone entrapped them by convincing them to commit the crime when they otherwise would not have. Entrapment is difficult to prove, but it can act as a defense to burglary if sufficiently supported by the evidence.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.