Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting Burglary Charges
Burglary and theft are often classified as the same. However, the statute defines burglary slightly different than theft. Burglary involves theft, but it also includes any unlawful entry onto a property with the intent to commit a crime once inside. Theft, by definition, does not include illegal entry. Furthermore, one could be charged with burglary in Colorado without stealing anything. Committing an assault or vandalizing the interior of a property can also result in a burglary charge.
Two Traditional Aspects of Criminal Intent
In Colorado, the statutes build on the foundations of unlawful entry and criminal intent. The possession of burglary-related tools is also a crime in the state. Therefore, it is important to note that – unlike other states – you could be charged with burglary just for entering a property without permission and carrying burglary-type tools.
There are three degrees of burglary charges in Colorado. Each depends on the structure penetrated, crimes intended once inside, and the crimes that occurred inside.
Assessing the Different Degrees of Burglary
There are three levels of burglary offenses – you need to understand all three, and know how these charges might apply to your situation.
- First Degree – First-degree burglary requires an assault or menacing act while conducting a burglary. First-degree offenses can include threats or the use of a deadly weapon (e.g., knife, gun, or bat). If convicted of first-degree burglary, you are convicted of a Class 3 felony. Therefore, you might incur up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
- Second Degree – Second-degree burglary is the unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime. You must have intent to commit a crime, even if you do not carry out that crime, on the property. Second-degree burglary is a Class 4 felony. If convicted, you might face up to six years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. A judge might enhance the charge to a Class 3 felony if your objective was to steal a controlled substance in the building.
- Third Degree – Third-degree burglary is when you intent to commit a crime and enter equipment (not a structure). Third-degree offenses might include a vending machine, cash register, vault, safe, safety deposit box, coin box, or coin telephone. Third-degree burglary is a Class 5 felony that comes with three years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000. The judge might enhance to a Class 4 if you stole or intended to steal a controlled substance.
Defense Options Against Burglary Charges
There are several defense strategies available when you face burglary charges. You might claim duress, entrapment, insanity, involuntary intoxication, and more. However, before picking a defense strategy, you need a defense attorney.
Contact Rubinstein Law Offices regarding your pending burglary case. Regardless of what degree you might be charged with, having adequate representation increases your chances for better sentencing or the possibility of a dismissal.