Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

As Denver burglary lawyers, you need to know the difference between theft, robbery, and burglary in Colorado. You may believe that these charges are alike, but they are not. The definitions are as follows:

  • Theft: In Colorado, you can be charged with theft when you take anything of value belonging to another person without that person’s consent. Depending on the value of the stolen property, charges can vary from a petty offense to a misdemeanor or even a felony.
  • Robbery: If you knowingly take property from someone using force, threats, or intimidation, it becomes a robbery, which is always a felony.
  • Burglary: If you enter a property wrongfully to commit theft or any other crime (not just theft) it is burglary. This crime is always charged as a felony. Even the unlawful possession of burglary tools, such as crowbars, lock picks, and blowtorches can result in a burglary charge. Burglary usually results in more serious consequences and jail time.

The consequences for theft, robbery, and burglary are all much harsher than you might expect them to be. They can include years in a Colorado prison, and this is especially true if a person(s) was harmed or the goal was to obtain any illegal controlled substance.

You may think that charges of theft, robbery, or burglary are a slam dunk for the prosecution because you were caught with stolen goods, or at the scene, etc. This is not always true.

Usually, the severity and punishment for burglary are influenced by specific common factors, and they can include the type of property (whether residential or commercial property, cargo container, or type of vehicle or vessel) where the burglary occurred.  Especially important is whether there were people on the property at the time. If people were involved, this will change the entire scope of the charges and concurrent penalties, and it can result in life-changing jail time.

Your Denver criminal defense attorney understands that there are many reasons why you may have been accused, such as:

  • Mistaken witness identification
  • Being the unknowing receipt of stolen goods
  • Mistakes made by law enforcement (which happens more frequently than you might think)
  • If you were a victim of an illegal search and seizure
  • Being falsely accused by the victim who’s proved to be someone holding a grudge against you

By providing meticulous research during your case, your lawyer can bring up all the problems with the prosecutor’s case, and thus begin a vigorous defense.

Your experienced Denver burglary attorney will go over your case in detail and will be equipped to help defend you in ways that you most certainly aren’t aware of.

Theft, robbery, and burglary are some of the most charged crimes in Colorado. Therefore, they have similar defenses in most cases. Some simple examples of the most common defenses are:

  • You didn’t enter the building intending to commit a crime
  • You weren’t there to steal drugs—which would increase your penalties
  • The property was worth less than the prosecution claims
  • You weren’t armed. Being armed is extremely important and will increase your legal penalties enormously
  • You didn’t threaten anyone in the act of the crime
  • You were lawfully on the property
  • The property was yours
  • The other person gave you the property
  • You were just borrowing the property in question

Being charged with burglary in Denver is an exceptionally serious crime and may contain many and varied details. Immediately consulting (and retaining) an aggressive criminal counsel, who will protect your rights, is crucial to a positive outcome.

What Is the Difference Between Common Law Burglary and Modern-Day Burglary?

In common law, burglary is almost always a felony and remains so under Colorado’s current statutes. However, Colorado’s recent statutes divide burglary into degrees. The higher the degree of burglary committed, the harsher the penalty that will result from a conviction.

The main difference between the third and the remaining degrees (first and second-degree) is that there are no aggravating factors present. In simple terms, third-degree is plain burglary. The second and first-degrees, however, involve the use of weapons or deadly weapons.

However, even third-degree burglary is a Class 5 Felony and is punishable by one to three years in prison, two years of mandatory parole, and up to a $100,000 fine.

Second-degree burglary is a Class 3 or 4 Felony, according to the circumstances, and is punishable by two to 12 years in prison and up to a $750,000 fine.

First-degree burglary is a Class 2 or 3 Felony and is considered a crime involving violence. Being the most serious, a first-degree burglary carries a possibility of a mandatory sentence of 16-48 years in prison.

The dire penalties are clear and consulting a Denver criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is of great positive consequence to your future.

How Can a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me With a Burglary Charge?

By immediately consulting with a Denver criminal defense attorney, who represents burglary charges, can certainly provide you with your best defense.

For example, second-degree burglary is a ‘wobbler’ charge and can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Your criminal lawyer can petition the judge to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, even if the district attorney does not agree.

Your burglary defense attorney, after going over your case, could get your charges dropped or dismissed if the police violated your constitutional rights during the investigation, a search, the interrogation, or your arrest.

Your experienced criminal defense team knows that the prosecution bears the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So, to defend a burglary charge, your attorney will aim to create a plausible doubt in the minds of the jury as to whether the prosecution’s evidence truly demonstrates that you committed the crime.

The severe impact that a burglary conviction can have on your life gives you a mandatory directive to get a Denver criminal justice attorney, protecting your rights, involved at once. Don’t take chances with your entire future.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.