Under common law, burglary is the unlawful entry into a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. Committing a crime within a structure is not required nor is breaking and entering. Simply trespassing through an opened window with the intention of committing a crime is enough to be charged with the offense.
Burglary is a serious crime in Colorado with the potential to be more serious if assault was committed or if anyone was seriously injured. It’s advised you seek legal representation if you or someone you know has been charged with burglary.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
A burglary conviction will result in you being labeled a felon. As a result, you will lose fundamental rights, possibly lose your job and have a difficult time finding employment. Contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC so this doesn’t happen to you. We will file motions, suppress evidence and do whatever else is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a case evaluation. We represent clients in areas such as El Paso County, Denver County, and Arapahoe County.
- Burglary vs. Theft
- How is Burglary Charged in Colorado?
- What are Burglary Tools?
- Additional Resources
Burglary vs. Theft
Theft and burglary are used interchangeably, but when it comes to the law, both are entirely different. The differences between the two crimes are small and easy to be confused. But to law enforcement and prosecutors, these small contrasting elements can result in more severe legal penalties.
One of the main differences between the two crimes is criminal intent. Burglary involves unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime. This crime can be anything from assault and vandalism to theft and murder. Theft, on the other hand, solely involves taking something from another without their consent.
For instance, imagine someone stole a bike from your driveway. Doing so would be considered theft since the bike was not within a structure. Now, if the individual broke into your garage with the intention of stealing the bike, it would be considered burglary.
How is Burglary Charged in Colorado?
Another factor setting burglary apart from theft is how they are charged. No matter the degree, burglary is always a felony in Colorado. The extent of the felony will depend on factors of your case such as the crime committed and the type of structure.
Listed below is a brief description of each charge:
This degree of the offense involves breaking into lockboxes and containers such as vaults, safes, coin vending machines, cash registers and product dispensers. Third-degree burglary is a class 5 felony punishable by the following:
- One to three years in prison
- A fine between $1,000 and $100,000
- Three years of mandatory parole
The offense will be elevated to a class 4 felony if the intent of the crime was the theft of a controlled substance. A class 4 felony is punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $500,000.
Second-degree burglary is considered the unlawful entry or remaining inside a building or occupied structure with the intention of committing a crime against property or a person. As noted earlier, a crime is not required to be committed to be charged with second-degree burglary. Breaking into a building with the intent of vandalizing the property is enough to be charged with the offense, even if you ended up not vandalizing anything.
Second-degree burglary is charged as either a class 3 or class 4 felony depending on the structure and intent of the crime. If the structure was anything but a dwelling, the offense is a class 4 felony punishable by the following:
- Two to six years in prison
- A fine between $2,000 and $500,000
- Three years of mandatory parole
The crime will be reclassified as a class 3 felony if it involved the unlawful entry into a dwelling. A dwelling is any structure acting as a home to the occupants. This can include a family home, apartment or travel trailer. Second-degree burglary is also a class 3 felony if the objective of the crime was to steal a controlled substance.
A class 3 felony is punishable by:
- Four to 12 years in prison
- A fine between $3,000 and $750,000
- Five years of mandatory parole
Unlawfully entering or remaining inside an occupied building or dwelling becomes first-degree burglary if any of the following apply:
- Assaulted or menaced another person
- Were armed with an explosive
- Used a deadly weapon
- Possessed and threatened to use a deadly weapon
First-degree burglary is a class 3 felony punishable by four to 12 years in prison and a fine between $3,000 and $750,000. The offense will be classified as a crime of violence if you caused serious bodily injury, death, used a deadly weapon or threatened to use a deadly weapon. If the crime is classified as such, the court will double your incarceration time. This means that instead of four to 12 years behind bars, you could be looking at eight to 24 years.
First-degree burglary will be reclassified to a class 2 felony if the objective of the offense was to steal a controlled substance from a pharmacy or other place lawfully able to possess the drug.
A class 2 felony is punishable by:
- Eight to 24 years in prison
- A fine between $5,000 and $1 million
- Five years of mandatory parole
What are Burglary Tools?
You will face additional charges if you are caught with burglary tools. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, a burglary tool is any explosive or tool adapted to be used for the forcible entry into a structure. Common objects such as ropes and hammers can be considered a burglary tool. Other examples include:
- Slim jims
- Lock picks
- Clothing used to conceal fingerprints
- Heavy duty tools capable of breaking through solid materials
What makes an everyday object a burglary tool is the intent in possessing it. If it’s clear you intended to use a crowbar to jar a door open and commit the offense; then you can be charged with possession of burglary tools. Possession of burglary tools is a class 5 felony punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000.
Additional Resources for Burglary
Burglary | Colorado Revised Statutes – Follow the link provided to read the chapter of the revised statutes governing burglary. You can gain additional information on each degree of the crime and learn more about the possession of burglary tools. You can also gain access to other property offenses such as theft and robbery.
Mandatory Sentences for Violent Crimes | Colorado Revised Statutes – Learn more about sentencing for violent crimes. You can read the definition of a crime of violence, how they are charged, and a list of offenses considered violent.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO
Don’t take your chances with a court-appointed attorney. Instead, opt for the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. We will take the time to listen to your story and formulate a defense plan with your best interest in mind. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a case consultation.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC represents clients in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Littleton.