The crime of burglary, or breaking and entering, does not necessarily involve theft. A person commits burglary by breaking into a building with the intention of stealing something or committing a crime. This offense could be committed in a home, a store, or any type of building, if force was used to break in.
What Does Forcible Entry Mean?
Forcible entry means entering someone else’s property by force against the wishes of the occupants. It may involve:
- Breaking open doors, windows, or other parts of a house or building
- Entering lawfully, then remaining unlawfully
- Entering unlawfully.
What Qualifies as “Breaking” in Colorado?
Under the Colorado statute, simply opening a closed door qualifies as breaking within the definition of burglary. Any act of physical force, no matter how slight, to remove an obstruction to entering is breaking. The element of breaking requires both the use of physical force and the removal of an obstruction to entering the structure. In Colorado a person can be convicted of this crime simply by remaining in a building that they originally entered lawfully.
What Is the Importance of Establishing Intent in a Burglary Case?
The prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal trial. To convict a person of burglary, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime.
As intent is an element of the crime, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to steal property or commit a felony after breaking into and entering the building. In addition, the prosecution must state specifically which felonies it believes the defendant intended to commit.
Under state law, intent sufficient to support a burglary conviction may be inferred from the circumstances and facts surrounding illegal entry into a home or building. No actual theft is required for the crime of burglary to have been committed. Circumstantial evidence is enough to support a burglary conviction if the evidence and reasonable inferences establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
What Are the Penalties for Second Degree Burglary?
Depending on the crime, burglary can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Burglary of a dwelling is a Class 3 Felony punishable by a fine of up to $750,000.00 and up to 12 years in prison. Other burglary charges are usually Class 4 Felonies and are punishable by fines up to $500,000.00 and up to 6 years in prison. Lesser burglary charges include Class 2 Misdemeanors.
Why Do You Need an Experienced Denver Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been charged with burglary for unlawfully entering someone else’s property, your best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome is to have an experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer representing you. Upon conviction, this crime carries heavy penalties, including the possibility of a lengthy prison term. A strong defense against the charges can help protect your future.
At Welsh Law L.L.C., we have a thorough understanding of Colorado’s criminal justice system, and we work hard to achieve the best possible results for our clients. We believe, no matter what charges you are facing, you have the right to an attorney and a strong legal defense. Our legal team can investigate the prosecution’s case against you, find every flaw, and raise every possible defense.
Call us today at (720) 836-1777 to schedule a free consultation if you are facing burglary charges. We can explain your rights and break down your options.