One group is believed to be responsible for 127 burglaries in Colorado Springs. In this post, we’ll detail how the law might apply in their cases, what penalties they might face, and how a skilled attorney can help fight charges like these.
What We Know about the Colorado Springs Burglary Ring
A group of at least four suspects has been accused of committing over 127 burglaries between March and May 2018 in Colorado Springs. One 26-year-old man was caught breaking a window to gain access to a Buffalo Wild Wings and was apprehended after failing to break into the safe.
Additionally, the police have already arrested a 24-year-old man on a warrant, and a 17-year-old who is allegedly part of the group is being held in police custody on other charges. More arrests may be made as police continue to investigate the burglary pattern of stealing from the safes and cash drawers of several area businesses.
How Colorado’s Burglary Laws Work
Burglary is normally associated with theft under Colorado law. However, a person doesn’t need to actually steal anything for burglary charges to apply. Technically, the law criminalizes unlawfully entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime while inside. The crime inside can be theft, but it could also be assault, property damage, or other illegal acts.
In Colorado, burglary is divided into three degrees depending on the type of structure entered, the crime intended and/or committed within, and if any weapons were used during the commission of the crime.
First Degree Burglary
First degree burglary is similar to second degree burglary, but also includes the act of menacing or assaulting another person, using explosives, or using deadly weapons while inside the structure. The charge is a class 3 felony, and conviction will result in a prison sentence of up to 12 years and a fine of up to $750,000.
Second Degree Burglary
A person can be charged with second degree burglary by unlawfully entering a structure with an intent to commit a crime against property or another person while inside. A conviction for this class 4 felony could result in up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. It can be raised to a class 3 felony if the structure was a dwelling or if the intent was to take controlled substances while inside.
Third Degree Burglary
This charge applies if a person who has an intent to commit a crime breaks into equipment or machinery including the following:
- Cash register
- Coin box
- Coin telephone
- Money depository
- Safety deposit box
- Product dispenser
- Vending machine
A conviction for this class 5 felony will result in penalties of up to three years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. However, it can be raised to a class 4 felony if the intent was to take controlled substances.
As you might imagine, if you are charged with committing numerous burglaries, your penalties will reflect this if you are convicted, and can end up drastically increasing any consequences you suffer.
How a Knowledgeable Denver Attorney Can Help
An experienced Colorado criminal lawyer will know how the law applies if you are accused of burglary in Colorado. Various defenses, including the following, may be helpful in your case:
- Lack of intent
- Choice between evils
- Acting in public duty
- Mental impairment
Even if your situation seems dire, remember that a charge is not a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty, and there are all kinds of strategies that can be used to cast doubt on the arguments of the prosecution.
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” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.