Burglary is the crime of entering a place illegally, or remaining in that place illegally, with the intention of committing another crime against people or property while there. Like many criminal offenses, there are different degrees of burglary, so that the severity of the consequences depends on the circumstances of the situation. Defending against burglary charges can be very complex, and the potential penalty for conviction is quite severe. Anyone who has been charged with burglary, or is under investigation for any crime, should contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney immediately to protect their rights. Alaurice Tafoya-Modi of The Tafoya Law Firm has helped countless Coloradans who have found themselves in legal trouble.
The Key to Burglary is Intent
Burglary is different from many other crimes in that the key to the charge is intent. Burglary involves being in a place illegally with the intent to commit some other crime. If there is no intent to commit another crime, then there is no burglary. There might be some lesser charge, such as trespassing, but no burglary. Additionally, if the person is at the location legally, there is no burglary. Again, there may be a lesser charge based on other crimes committed. Of course, it is important to understand that the presence of the word intent also means that the other crime does not have to be successful. If someone is accused of breaking into another’s home with the intent of stealing from them, this act would be considered burglary. If, after breaking into the home, the burglar is surprised and runs away without actually taking anything, burglary has still been committed. It is easy to see why a Denver criminal defense lawyer is so important in burglary cases.
Colorado Burglary Law
In Colorado, there are three degrees of burglary.
- 1stdegree burglary is committed when illegally entering a building or occupied structure with the intention of committing another crime, IF the person also assaults someone during the crime, or possesses or uses a deadly weapon or explosives. The key to the first degree status is the assault, or being armed during the burglary.1st degree burglary is a Class 3 Felony, unless the object of the burglary is drugs, in which case it is a Class 2 Felony.
- 2nddegree burglary is committed when illegally entering a building or other occupied structure with the intention of committing another crime. In this case, there is no deadly weapon, and no assault.2nd degree burglary is generally a Class 4 Felony. If the burglary was committed at someone’s home, then it is a Class 3 Felony. If the object of the burglary was drugs, then it is also a Class 3 Felony.
- 3rdDegree Burglary is committed when breaking into any locker, safe, vending machine, or other locked place that is not a building or independent structure with the intention of committing another crime.3rd degree burglary is a Class 5 Felony, unless the object of the burglary is drugs, in which case it is a Class 4 Felony.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been charged with burglary in Colorado, contact the Denver criminal defense law firm of Alaurice Tafoya-Modi immediately. Mrs. Tafoya-Modi has helepd numerous Coloradans to protect their rights, and she understands how to refute burglary charges. While the dependence on intent complicates the defense in some ways, it also presents one possible strategy for creating reasonable doubt. Ultimately, Mrs. Tafoya-Modi understands that the details of each individual case will determine the best strategy for defense. She represents each client aggressively and compassionately, firmly believing that every person charged with a crime deserves their day in court. Whether you have been accused of a crime that you did not commit, or have made a terrible mistake, contact the Tafoya Law Firm today at (303)813-1100.