Colorado Burglary Charges Can Ruin Your Life – Fight Back
The image most people have when someone says the word “burglar” is of a man sneaking into a store or house wearing a mask. Or maybe George Clooney in the Ocean’s movies, carefully planning a heist with his crew.
In the real world, burglary comes in all shapes and sizes, and often the situation is not so cut-and-dried – or glamorous. In fact, if you get arrested and charged, glamour is the last thing that will be on your mind.
Because Colorado burglary charges are incredibly serious. Even the lowest level burglary offense in our state is a felony that comes with the possibility of years in prison and a six-figure fine.
Not to mention the social stigma that comes with being a convicted felon. Few people will want to hire you. Or let you live in their building. Or agree to give you a loan. You may even find it hard to get a date since more and more people are running background checks on prospective mates.
Then, of course, there are the voting restrictions and the fact that you will not be permitted to carry a weapon ever again.
Jeff Weeden understands what you are up against. As someone who has worked as a Colorado criminal lawyer since 2005, he not only knows the laws of our state, but how they can be used to protect your rights instead of just stripping them away.
Perhaps most importantly, he is well aware of the fact that this is quite possibly the most pivotal moment in your life, and he will treat your situation with the seriousness and rigor it deserves. It is a mindset that has served him well so far, enabling him to get the best possible outcome for countless clients just like you by having charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
What a Charge of Burglary Really Means in Denver
With such limited portrayals in popular culture, there are some misconceptions about what “burglary” really means and how someone might be charged with the crime.
In Colorado, there are three distinct charges in the statutes for burglary: third degree burglary, second degree burglary, and first degree burglary. Each means something a little bit different.
“A person commits third degree burglary if with intent to commit a crime he enters or breaks into any vault, safe, cash register, coin vending machine, product dispenser, money depository, safety deposit box, coin telephone, coin box, or other apparatus or equipment whether or not coin operated.”
“A person commits second degree burglary, if the person knowingly breaks an entrance into, enters unlawfully in, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in a building or occupied structure with intent to commit therein a crime against another person or property.”
“A person commits first degree burglary if the person knowingly enters unlawfully, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry, in a building or occupied structure with intent to commit therein a crime, other than trespass as defined in this article, against another person or property, and if in effecting entry or while in the building or occupied structure or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime assaults or menaces any person, the person or another participant is armed with explosives, or the person or another participant uses a deadly weapon or possesses and threatens the use of a deadly weapon.”
Essentially, the difference between third degree burglary and the other two is location – or what the defendant allegedly enters or breaks into. Second and first degree burglary require unlawfully entering into or remaining in a building or occupied structure, whereas third degree burglary can be anything from safe cracking to putting your hand in a cash register to walking into a bank vault.
We will call this general act “unlawful entrance” for short. That is element one.
The second element is that you enter, stay, or break in knowing that you are doing so unlawfully. Again, third degree differs here from the other two in that there is no requirement that you must know you are doing something wrong just by being there.
The final element is intent to commit a crime, and it is required by all three charges. It is also, quite often, the key to getting convicted or beating your charge, because if the prosecution cannot prove that you intended to commit a crime, you cannot be found guilty of burglary.
In fact, one of the most common ways to get charges reduced is to argue that someone was not attempting burglary, but rather just trespassing. Still a crime, but a far less serious one.
That is only one of many different defense strategies that Jeff Weeden has effectively used to fight burglary charges for past clients. Which strategy is best for you will depend upon the specifics of your situation – something you can discuss with Mr. Weeden at your free initial consultation.
The Importance of Contacting WeedenLaw to Battle Your Denver Burglary Charges
Are the consequences of a burglary conviction really so serious that you need to work with an attorney? Ultimately, only you can answer that question.
We detailed what living with a conviction can be like above, but didn’t really dive into the specific criminal penalties. What are they?
If you are charged with third degree burglary, it is a class 5 felony that comes with the possibility of three years in prison and $100,000 in fines. If it is found that you were attempting to steal controlled substances, the charge is bumped up to a class 4 felony.
If you are charged with a second degree burglary, it is a class 4 felony that comes with the possibility of six years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. If it is found that you were attempting to steal controlled substances, or if the structure you entered was a dwelling, the charge will be bumped up to a class 3 felony.
If you are charged with a first degree burglary, it is a class 3 felony that comes with the possibility of 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
Is it worth fighting back so that you do not have to suffer those punishments?
We think so, and we are ready and willing to help you do just that. All you have to do is email our office at email@example.com, call (720) 310-2141, or complete our free case review form online.