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Burglary

Burglary in Colorado has three levels of seriousness, first, second and third degree.

First Degree Burglary

A person commits First Degree Burglary if they:

1. Enter a building illegally, or remain illegally in the building even when they entered the building legally, and

2. Intend to commit a crime there, and

3. Assault or menace any person while entering or leaving, or are armed with explosives, or use a deadly weapon, or threaten to use a deadly weapon.

If there is more than one participant, the acts above need only be committed by one of them for all participants to be guilty. For example, if 5 people break into a building, and only one of them uses a deadly weapon, all of the participants are guilty of First Degree Burglary. First Degree Burglary is a class 3 felony.

The intent to commit a crime is a necessary element of the crime of First Degree Burglary. It is important to note that the required criminal intent can come about after the entry into the building. For example, a person can enter a building not intending to commit a crime, and then decide while inside the building that they are going to commit a crime. This is sufficient for a person to be found guilty of this charge.

Second Degree Burglary

A person commits Second Degree Burglary if they:

1. Enter a building illegally, or remain illegally in the building even when they entered the building legally, and

2. Intend to commit a crime there.

Notice how Second Degree Burglary is the same as First Degree, except that the defendant did not assault or menace anyone, did not possess explosives, or did not use or threaten the use of a deadly weapon.

Second Degree Assault is a class 4 felony, except that it becomes a class 3 felony if:

1. The building involved is a dwelling (where people live), or

2. The intended crime was to steal a controlled substance.

A person may have valid consent to enter a building, but then be asked to leave. If the person does not leave when asked, and remains there intending to commit a crime, they are guilty of burglary.

With any form of burglary, it is not necessary that the crime that the burglar intended to commit, actually be committed. For example, if a defendant entered a building intending to commit theft, but then left before actually committing theft, they are still guilty of burglary.

If any part of the body enters a building, it is sufficient to sustain a conviction for burglary. For example, reaching through an open door to strike someone can be charged as Burglary, since a body part entered the building.

Third Degree Burglary

A person commits Third Degree Burglary if they:

1. Break into a vault, safe, cash register, vending machine, product dispenser, money depository, safe deposit box, coin telephone, coin box or other container, and

2. Intended to commit a crime.

Third Degree Burglary is a class 5 felony, except that it is elevated to a class 4 felony if it was done with the intent to steal a controlled substance.

Please contact Kevin Churchill if you would like to discuss burgarly charges with a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney.