Breaking and entering into a structure for the purpose of committing another crime is considered burglary. Traditionally, burglary applies to any type of structure, from a building to a motor home. However, in Washington State, there’s a more specific criminal act focused on entering a vehicle with the purpose of committing a crime, known as vehicle prowling.
Are First Degree and Second Degree Vehicle Prowling Defined Differently in Washington State?
What the Difference between Being Charged with Vehicle Prowling in the First and Second Degree?
The difference between a charge of first degree vs. second degree vehicle prowling depends on the vehicle. If the boat or vehicle has sleeping quarters or could be lived in, then a defendant charged with first degree vehicle prowling. Second degree is charged when there’s no cooking facilities or sleeping quarters in the vehicle.
A first degree charge is a class C felony and a second degree charge is a gross misdemeanor.
What is the Punishment for Vehicle Prowling in Washington State?
A charge of first degree vehicle prowling is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For a charge of vehicle prowling in the second degree, a defendant can face a punishment of less than 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Case?
Yes. Contact a Washington lawyer to understand more about possible defenses and getting the charge dropped or reduced.