When compared with armed robbery, burglary is a stealthier form of theft in many cases. Under Colorado law, burglary specifically involves someone intentionally entering a building or promises without permission and with the intent to commit a criminal offense.
Most of the time, burglary charges involve the theft of goods, although burglary could also involve espionage or even plans to physically assault an individual. There are multiple classifications of burglary, and the circumstances that lead to someone’s arrest will influence which charges they face.
Third-degree burglary is the least severe charge
Unlike the two other primary classifications, third-degree burglary specifically involves someone illegally opening or entering facilities or devices intended to store or dispense money.
Breaking into a bank vault, prying open a cash register or stealing from a soda vending machine are all examples of offenses that could constitute third-degree burglary. As a felony charge, third-degree burglary can carry between one and three years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
Second-degree burglary involves illegally entering or staying at a property
The classic burglary scenario of someone forcing a lock on a door and entering someone’s home while everyone is away would typically constitute second-degree burglary. An individual does not need to break into a building to commit second-degree burglary but only remain there illegally.
For example, if someone goes into a store during business hours and then hides until all of the staff come home to steal merchandise or empty the cash registers, they will likely face second-degree burglary charges. The penalties for second-degree burglary can range from two to six years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
What is first-degree burglary?
First-degree burglary is obviously the most severe, and it requires that someone accused of burglary have a deadly weapon in their possession at the time of the offense. Breaking into someone’s home with a gun or knife could be enough for first-degree burglary charges.
The penalties for first-degree burglary are serious. A conviction could mean between four and 12 years in prison and as much as $750,000 in fines. The penalties for a burglary offense of any degree will increase if the item someone tries to steal is a controlled substance, like a prescription medication.
Burglary and other property offenses can result in life-altering penalties unless those accused fight back against pending charges.