Albert Joseph was convicted of second degree criminal
trespass as a lesser included offense of second degree
vehicle prowling. He challenges his conviction on the ground
that unlawful entry into a vehicle is not a trespass "in
or upon premises of another." RCW 9A.52.080(1). This
case presents a challenging question of statutory
interpretation because of the overlapping and intersecting
definitions of "building" and "premises"
in Title 9A RCW. The Court of Appeals affirmed Joseph's
conviction, concluding that a vehicle is a
"premises" for the purpose of the second degree
trespass statute because a vehicle is a type of
"building" and "premises" includes
"any building." See State v. Joseph, 195
Wn.App. 737, 739, 744, 381 P.3d 187 (2016), review
granted, 187 Wn.2d 1009, 388 P.3d 497 (2017). We affirm
the Court of Appeals.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 4, 2014, police responded to a report of vehicle
prowling. The responding officer found Anthony Joseph asleep
in an unlocked Chevy Blazer on a public street in Ellensburg.
The officer recognized Joseph and knew that he was homeless.
The officer contacted Joseph and told him to exit the
Joseph said that he had the owner's permission; however,
he then admitted he did not, and was arrested for vehicle
prowling. The State filed charges of third degree assault and
second degree vehicle prowling. The matter proceeded to a jury
trial. The State sought jury instructions on first and second
degree criminal trespass as lesser included offenses of the
vehicle prowling charge. The trial court refused to instruct
the jury on first degree trespass, but instructed the jury on
second degree trespass, over Joseph's objection. The
State asked the court to define the term "premises"
used in the second degree criminal trespass statute, but did
not submit a definitional instruction. The trial court did
not define "premises, " but allowed the parties to
argue whether this term included a motor vehicle.
jury acquitted Joseph of vehicle prowling, but found him
guilty of second degree criminal trespass. Joseph appealed,
and the Court of Appeals, Division Three affirmed his
conviction, holding that a motor vehicle constitutes premises
for purposes of second degree criminal trespass. See
Joseph, 195 Wn.App. at 744.
case presents a question of statutory interpretation under
chapter 9A.52 RC W. That chapter encompasses the related
crimes of burglary, criminal trespass, and vehicle prowling.
At issue is whether second degree criminal trespass is a
lesser included offense of second degree vehicle prowling.
While only these two offenses are directly before us, our
analysis must take into account the context and potential
impact of our holding on the interpretation of interrelated
statutes in this chapter. See, e.g., Jametsky v.
Olsen, 179 Wn.2d 756, 762, 317 P.3d 1003 (2014)
(statutory meaning is derived "from the context of the
person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree
when "he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully
in or upon premises of another under circumstances not
constituting criminal trespass in the first degree." RCW
9A.52.080(1). First degree criminal trespass, in turn, occurs
when a person "knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in
a building." RCW 9A.52.070(1). RCW 9A.52.010(3) defines
"premises" to include "any building, dwelling,
structure used for commercial aquaculture, or any real
property." No provision in chapter 9A.52 RCW defines
"building, " but that term is defined at the title
level for the criminal code:
a different meaning plainly is required:
(5) "Building, " in addition to its ordinary
meaning, includes any dwelling, fenced area,
vehicle, railway car, cargo container, or any other
structure used for lodging of persons or for carrying on
business therein, or for the use, sale, or deposit of goods;
each unit of a building consisting of two or more units
separately secured or occupied is a separate building.
RCW 9A.04.110(5) (emphasis added); see also State v.
Lira, 45 Wn.App. 653, 658, 726 P.2d 1015 (1986)
(recognizing title-level "building" definition
applies to burglary statute under chapter 9A.52 RCW, as
'"[t]o ignore a definition section is to refuse to
give legal effect to a part of the statutory law of the
state'" (quoting State v. Taylor,
30 Wn.App. 89, 95, 632 P.2d 892 (1981))).
1979, the Court of Appeals identified a potential
constitutional problem posed by the overlapping definitions
of "premises" and "building" as applied
to criminal trespass offenses. See State v. Martell,
22 Wn.App. 415, 591 P.2d 789 (1979). Martell was charged with
second degree burglary for unlawfully entering a church; the
trial court instructed the jury on the lesser included
offense of first degree trespass but refused to instruct the
jury on second degree trespass. Id. at 416-17. After
the jury convicted him of first degree trespass, Martell
appealed on the ground that he was denied equal protection of
the law. Id. The Court of Appeals agreed, stating:
In viewing the two statutes pertaining to criminal trespass,
it is evident that each prescribes different punishment for
the same act, namely entering or remaining unlawfully in a
building. While RCW 9A.52.080 uses the word
"premises" rather than "building, " which
term is used in RCW 9A.52.070(1), these two statutes cannot
be harmonized on the basis of that distinction. The
definitional statute (RCW 9A.52.010) which applies to the
entire chapter, includes ...