A person who is accused of entering a property without permission can be arrested and criminally charged for doing so. A burglary charge can significantly impact a person’s life, but it is commonly confused with other charges like theft. But burglary does not involve actually taking another person’s property, and someone can be charged even without engaging in any other criminal acts at the time.

Burglary is most commonly associated with a business or home, but it can involve most other structures. A burglary charge consists of three different elements, the first being an unauthorized act of breaking and entering. That act must be into either a building or an occupied structure. Finally, the person doing so must intend to commit a crime, although actually committing that crime is not necessary.

Breaking and entering can be referred to as actual breaking, which involves using physical force like breaking a window, picking a lock or simply pushing open an ajar door. It can also be constructive, which means gaining entrance to a structure without any physical force. Fraud and blackmail are both forms of constructive breaking.

Fully understanding the formal charges that one is facing is essential to creating a strong criminal defense. Unfortunately, Washington criminal law can be complicated, and deciphering complex legal terms is not an easy task. With consequences such as jail time and fines on the line, it may be helpful to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can better explain the available options when facing a burglary charge.