DC Burglary Laws

In Washington, DC burglary is a criminal offense that is broken down into two degrees. Both burglary in the first degree and burglary in the second degree are felonies with mandatory minimum prison sentences. Unlike other jurisdictions (e.g., Maryland), burglary is distinct from breaking & entering (B&E), and/or trespassing. DC Code Section 22-801. First and second degree burglary are both serious crimes. If you have been charged with either of these offenses, you should contact a DC burglary lawyer today. The brief overview below is not a substitute for the experience of a qualified criminal attorney in the District of Columbia.

First Degree Section: 22-801(a)

Burglary in the first degree is a crime that can be broken down into three essential elements.

  1. The perpetrator must enter a “dwelling” or room/sleeping apartment in any building;
  2. The perpetrator must have entered with the intent to break and carry away any part, fixture, or other thing attached to the dwelling or with the intent to commit any criminal offense, and;
  3. An individual is present in the dwelling at the time when the perpetrator enters.

A person charged with burglary in the first degree faces a felony conviction and five to 30 years in prison.

It does not matter whether the perpetrator was breaking and entering, or entering without breaking. It also does not matter whether it was night or daytime.

Second Degree: Section 22-801(b)

Burglary in the second degree is a crime with fewer elements and a broader scope. Only two elements are necessary to commit burglary in the second degree:

  1. The perpetrator must enter any dwelling, bank, store, warehouse, shop, stable, building, apartment, room, steamboat, canalboat, vessel, railroad car, or area where goods are kept, and;
  2. The perpetrator must be entering with the intent to break and carry away any part, fixture, or other thing attached to or connected with the area or with the intent to commit any criminal offense.

A person charged with burglary in the second degree faces a felony conviction and two to 15 years in prison.

It does not matter whether the perpetrator was breaking and entering, or entering without breaking. It also does not matter whether it was night or daytime.

How a DC Burglary Lawyer Can Help

For both of these crimes, the government must prove several elements. An experienced DC burglary lawyer will work with you to build a case that casts serious doubt on one or more of these elements. Alternatively, a burglary attorney in DC can help you negotiate lighter charges or another deal with the prosecutor. Both crimes are punishable with jail time. Call a DC burglary lawyer today to help you protect your liberty.