The Basic Burglary Definition
In Denver, Broomfield and Jefferson County, defendants are charged with Burglary after unlawfully entering some kind of structure with intent to commit another crime. People typically assume that burglary means a person has broken into a residence and stolen something. However, the underlying crime does not necessarily need to be theft, but could be any crime. In addition to theft, burglary allegations often involve allegations of assault. Regardless of the crime, if the person enters or remains unlawfully (i.e. without permission) with the intent to commit any crime, that person can be charged with Burglary. Read about a real world Burglary example.
There is More Than One Type of Burglary
The degree or severity of the offense depends on the type of facility that was entered unlawfully and the underlying crime. Third Degree Burglary in Douglas or Arapahoe County is the least serious and involves allegations that a person broke into a vault, safe or locked container. In this case, the underlying crime is almost always theft. Third Degree Burglary is a class 5 felony in Colorado and carries potential penalties of 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections. If the allegation is that the intent was to steal drugs, then the burglary is elevated to a class 4 felony carrying a potential sentence of 2-6 years in the Department of Corrections.
Second Degree Burglary
Second Degree Burglary involves allegations that a person unlawfully entered a building or entered the building lawfully, but then remained there illegally, in Jefferson or Adams County. An experienced attorney will evaluate whether the District Attorney can actually prove that the accused had the intent to commit an underlying criminal act. Lack of intent is a possible defense in these cases. Second Degree Burglary is a Class Four Felony if the building is a business or other industrial or commercial property. If it is burglary of a dwelling, burglary is charged as a class 3 felony. Second Degree Burglary can also be charged as a class 3 felony if the accusation involves intent to steal a controlled substance (i.e. breaking into a pharmacy would be a class 3 felony).
The Most Severe Burglary is 1st Degree
First Degree Burglary in Denver or El Paso County is the most severe charge and has the added element that the accused must assault or menace a person while entering the building or while fleeing the building. First Degree Burglary is a class 3 felony carrying a possible term of imprisonment of 4-12 years in the Department of Corrections.
With the intricacy of the Burglary statutes, C.R.S. 18-4-202, 18-4-203, and 18-4-204, in Colorado, you need a criminal defense lawyer in the Denver metro area to protect you. So, if you or a loved one have been charged with Burglary, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.