Burglary is a crime that often gets confused with robbery, but they aren’t the same. Because of this, many people don’t understand what actions can be taken against someone committing a burglary versus someone attempting to commit robbery.
For instance, police were called in the early morning hours to a burglary scene that turned out to be a possible murder scene. A man at the scene reported that he fired his gun at several burglary suspects who were attempting to flee the scene.
So understand that jail time isn’t the only thing you risk when committing a burglary crime in Colorado. There is always a possibility that it could cost you your life!
In any case, it’s important to understand every risk committing a burglary poses. Learn more about what constitutes a burglary under Colorado law and what penalties you can face if convicted.
What Constitutes Burglary in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, burglary is defined as entering a building or any other locked container illegally with the intent to commit a crime.
The key to this charge is the intent, as simply going into a building won’t constitute burglary unless you also had the intention to perpetrate another crime, such as theft or assault.
Burglary can be charged in several different degrees, depending on the severity of the crime and the circumstances involved.
The Three Degrees of Colorado Burglary
There are three degrees of burglary charges in Colorado. Find out what actions are classified under each and the penalties an offender stands to receive if convicted.
A third-degree burglary occurs when someone breaks into a locked container, such as a vault or safe, with the intent to commit a crime. It is a Class 5 felony in Colorado, which can result in up to three years in prison and the payment of fines of as much as $100,000.
Of course, the intent behind the crime can change the felony class with which you are charged. For example, if you commit third-degree burglary but your intent was to take a controlled substance, then you may face a Class 4 felony instead, which carries harsher penalties.
A second-degree burglary crime is when an offender enters a building unlawfully with the intention to commit another crime while there. It is possible to go into a building lawfully and remain when you are legally not allowed to and you intend to commit a crime.
Second-degree burglary is usually a Class 4 felony if perpetrated in either a commercial or industrial property. However, second-degree burglary of a dwelling is a Class 3 felony.
The penalty for a Class 4 felony is up to six years in prison and fines for as much as $500,000. For a Class 3 felony, the penalties include up to 12 years in prison and fines of as much as $750,000.
First Degree Burglary
First-degree burglary is committed in much the same way as second-degree burglary, except that when the building is entered, while you’re in the building, or while you’re fleeing, you menace or assault a person.
This is a Class 3 felony, which can result in up to 12 years in prison and fines for as much as $750,000.
Burglary is a serious crime but one that can be a little confusing unless you’re familiar with the law. It’s in your best interest to understand the charges against you if you’re accused of burglary so that you can mount the best defense possible.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.