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Burglary

Unlawfully breaking into a building or occupied structure is known as burglary in the state of Colorado. The crime is similar to breaking and entering, but the offender must have some sort of intent to commit a crime in the structure/building. The crime doesn’t have to be related to theft, although most burglary cases are, other crimes such as assault or vandalism can still result in a burglary charge.

No matter the circumstances of the crime, if you’re convicted of burglary the lightest penalty, you’ll receive is still a felony. You may be sentenced to time in prison and be required to pay incredibly expensive court fines once you’re released. For these reasons and more, we highly encourage you to seek legal representation if you’ve been accused of burglary.

Denver Attorney for Burglary Charges

Both robbery and burglary are felony charges for which a conviction can send you to prison for many years.  If you are facing charges for either of these crimes, what you need now is an experienced attorney. To consult with skilled and knowledgeable attorneys contact Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Matthew Martin of Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has over 20 years of experience in the courtroom with extensive prosecutor experience. He knows what they are looking for, and the approaches they may take when building their cases. His 13 years of prosecution experience can work in your favor as he strategizes your defense. To set up your first consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. call our office at (303) 725-0017.

Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. is located in the Denver area, but accepts clients in nearing counties such as Jefferson County, Douglas County, Broomfield County, Boulder County, Adams County, and Arapahoe County.

Information Center:

  • What is the Difference Between Burglary and Theft?
  • Burglary Jail Time in Colorado
    • First Degree Burglary
    • Second Degree Burglary
    • Third Degree Burglary
  • Additional Resources

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What is the Difference Between Burglary and Theft?

The nightly news and television programs commonly interchange the terms theft and burglary. However, under Colorado law both crimes are distinct from one another with their own set of penalties. The difference between theft and burglary may seem arbitrary, but to law enforcement and prosecutors these contrasting elements can result in serious penalties.

The main difference that sets theft and burglary a part is criminal intent. A person can only be charged with burglary if they unlawfully enter a structure or building with an intent to commit any crime. While it’s true that most cases of burglary the offender’s intent are to commit theft, there are some cases where stealing isn’t the objective. A person can be charged with burglary if they commit sexual assault, vandalism, arson, or any other crime as long as they’ve unlawfully entered a building or structure and had that intent.


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Burglary Jail Time in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, the penalties for burglary are nothing to take lightly. A conviction for burglary without any aggravating factors is a felony, which means potential prison time. The state of Colorado classifies the severity of the crime based on its degree and under CRS there are three degrees for burglary. Listed below is a brief description of each.

First Degree Burglary in Colorado

The highest penalty a person can receive for unlawfully entering a structure/building with intent to commit a crime is under first-degree burglary. You may be charged with first-degree burglary if you unlawfully enter or remain inside an occupied building or dwelling and:

  • Used a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense
  • Were armed during the offense with an explosive
  • Threatened to use or possessed a deadly weapon
  • Menaced or assaulted another person during the offense

Without aggravating factors, a first-degree burglary is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 years in prison
  • A fine between $3,000 and $750,000

However, if the court classifies your case as a crime of violence, then your sentence will be enhanced further. A burglary offense is considered a crime of violence if you caused serious bodily injury, used a deadly weapon or threatened to use one, or another person died as a result of the burglary. If the court finds any of the above to be true, then they will reclassify your offense to a crime of violence and double your prison time. So, instead of facing up to 12 years in prison, you’ll be looking at upwards to 32 years.

The court may also reclassify your offense to a class 2 felony if the objective of the crime was to steal a controlled substance from a pharmacy or other place lawfully allowed to house the drug. The maximum penalty for a class 2 felony includes:

  • Up to 24 years in prison
  • A fine between $5,000 and $1 million
  • Five years of mandatory parole

Second Degree Burglary in Colorado

Burglary is charged in the second-degree if you intended to commit a crime against property or a person. It’s important to note you don’t need to actually commit the crime to face a second-degree burglary charge. The court can charge you with second-degree burglary as long as you had the intent to commit a crime against a person or property.

Depending on the structure and intent of the crime, second-degree burglary is charged as either a class 3 or 4 felony. If the structure broken into was anything but a dwelling, the penalty for second-degree burglary is a class 4 felony which is punishable by:

  • Up to 6 years in prison
  • A fine between $2,000 and $500,000
  • Three years of mandatory parole

The crime will automatically be reclassified as a class 3 felony if you unlawfully broke into a dwelling. Note that a dwelling is any structure acting as a home to the occupants. Some examples of a dwelling under Colorado law include a family home, travel trailer, or condo.

The penalty for a class 3 felony includes the following:

  • Up to 12 years in prison
  • A fine between $3,000 and $750,000
  • Five years of mandatory parole

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Third Degree Burglary in Colorado

The lightest burglary charges a person can face is third-degree burglary. Colorado law states a person is charged with third-degree burglary if they unlawfully break into a lockbox or container such as a vault, coin vending machine, cash register, or product dispenser. A third-degree burglary charge is classified as a class 5 felony upon conviction. The maximum penalty a person can face for a class 5 felony includes:

  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • A fine between $1,000 and $100,000
  • Three years of mandatory parole

If the offender was attempting to break into a lockbox or container possessing a controlled substance, their crime will be reclassified as a class 4 felony. The maximum penalty for a class 4 felony is up to 6 years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $500,000.


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Additional Resources

Burglary Laws in Colorado | Jury Instructions– Follow the link provided to read the jury instructions for burglary cases in Colorado. Access the document to gain additional information on each degree of the crime and learn more about the possession of burglary tools. See what the jury may see during trial and what notes they must study until they can make a verdict.


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Denver Burglary Defense Lawyer, CO

Both robbery and burglary are felony charges for which a conviction can send you to prison for many years.  If you are facing charges for either of these crimes, what you need now is an experienced attorney. Find that defense attorney today by calling the legal team at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Matthew Martin has over 20 years of diverse trial experience, and almost half of it he’s spent as a prosecutor for the state. He knows the kinds of evidence authorities will gather, understands how they will present it in court, and can develops strategies to counter the case they build so you face lessened consequences. Set up your first consultation with him today by calling our Denver offices at (303) 725-0017.


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