When most people think of burglary the image of somebody breaking into a building in the middle of the night and stealing things is what comes to mind; however, in Colorado burglary is defined much more broadly and broken into three different degrees of burglary.
Despite burglary being defined so broadly, there are still several defenses. If you are charged with burglary it is crucial to work with an experienced Denver burglary defense attorney to help you effectively fight the charges.
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First Degree Burglary
First-degree burglary is defined by CRS 18-4-202. It is when somebody enters a property unlawfully with the intent of committing a crime against something inside, either an individual or another piece of property and while doing so they assault or menace somebody or threaten to use deadly weapons. The legislature defines first-degree burglary as when a person:
- Entered unlawfully, or remaining unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry,
- In a building or occupied structure,
- With intent,
- To commit therein another crime against another person or property, and
- In effecting entry or while in the building or occupied structure or in immediate flight from the building or occupied structure the defendant
- Committed the crime of assault or the crime of menacing against any person, or
- The defendant or another participant was armed with explosives, or
- The defendant or another participant in the crime used a deadly weapon or possessed and threatened the use of a deadly weapon.
First-degree burglary is a class 3 felony with the possibility of up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.
Second Degree Burglary
Second-degree burglary is defined by CRS 18-4-203. It is when somebody enters property unlawfully intending to commit a crime against something therein, either an individual or another piece of property. The main difference between second- and first-degree burglary is the absence of assault or menacing.
The Colorado legislature defines second-degree burglary as when a person:
- Broke an entrance into, entered unlawfully in, or remained unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in,
- A building or occupied structure,
- With the intent to commit therein a crime against another person or property.
Second-degree burglary is a class 4 felony with the possibility of up to six years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. If the property was a private residence or the reason for the burglary was to steal drugs then the charge is increased one offense level to a class 3 felony.
Third Degree Burglary
Third-degree burglary is a is defined by CRS 18-4-204. It is when somebody breaks into equipment without authorization and with the intent to commit a crime. That equipment generally includes things like safes, cash registers, vaults, vending machines, payphones, and safe deposit boxes.
The legislature defines the first-degree burglary as when a person:
- With intent
- To commit a crime (such as theft),
- Entered or broke into,
- Any vault, safe, cash register, coin vending machine, a product dispenser, money depository, safety deposit box, coin telephone, coin box, or other apparatus or equipment whether or not coin operated.
If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney, we represent clients in Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding area. The Savela Law Firm, P.C. Give us a call at (720) 821-1001 or complete our inquiry form.
Third-degree burglary is a class 5 felony with the possibility of up to three years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. If the purpose of the burglary was to steal drugs the charge is a class 4 felony.
Possession of Burglary Tools
Possession of burglary tools is defined by CRS 18-4-205. It is when somebody has anything adapted to, commonly used for, or designed to help commit theft or forced entry. The Colorado legislature defines possession of burglary tools as occurring when a person:
- Possessed any explosive, tool, instrument, or other article adapted, designed, or commonly used for committing or facilitating the commission of an offense involving forcible entry into premises or theft by physical taking, and
- Intended to use the thing possessed or knew that some person intended to use the thing possessed, in the commission of such an offense.
Possession of burglary tools is a class 5 felony. The possible penalties are up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Although each case is different, there are several defenses to burglary charges including alibi, defense, mistaken identity, execution of public duty, general denial, and others. Many of these defenses can be used to get charges dropped or dismissed or a not guilty verdict at trial.
If you have been charged with burglary an experienced Denver DUI attorney is essential. Get in touch with experienced Denver burglary defense attorney Jason Savela by calling (720) 821-1001.