Burglary is a type of property crime. It’s commonly thought of as the theft of property, and this is often the case. However, burglary can also involve arson, vandalism, or any other crime. If a person is accused of unlawfully entering a structure with the intent to carry out another crime inside that structure, then a felony attorney will need to defend that person from a burglary charge. State law recognizes three degrees of burglary charges. A criminal defense attorney in Denver, CO will help you understand the specific charges against you and the legal penalties you may face.
A defendant could face a third-degree burglary charge if he or she has been accused of unlawfully entering equipment or an apparatus, including the following:
- Vending machine
- Coin box
- Safety deposit box
- Cash register
Generally, these cases involve the intent to commit the additional crime of theft. It’s a class five felony, and it may result in a prison sentence of up to three years. Up to $100,000 in fines may be assessed. As your robbery lawyer can advise you, this charge may be upgraded to a class four felony, which carries stiffer penalties, if the defendant intended to steal controlled substances.
A second-degree burglary charge results from the unlawful entry into a structure, such as a home or commercial building, with the intent to commit another property crime or a crime against another person. Second-degree burglary is a class four felony. It carries a possible penalty of up to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000. If the criminal intent was to steal controlled substances, or the structure was a dwelling, the charge can be upgraded to a class three felony.
First-degree burglary is similar to second-degree burglary. However, individuals charged with this crime are accused of committing a violent offense inside the unlawfully entered structure. These violent offenses may include:
- Assault and battery
- Threatening to use or using deadly weapons, including explosives
This is a class three felony. A conviction can result in up to 12 years behind bars. Convicted offenders may also be required to pay fines of up to $750,000.