When you or someone you know is charged with an offense like burglary or theft, having a zealous criminal defense attorney on your side from the outset could make a significant difference and even lessen the severity of your sentence. A Greenwood Village burglary and theft lawyer who is familiar with the applicable laws governing your situation could build a comprehensive defense and pinpoint any deficiencies in the prosecution’s case. A knowledgeable defense attorney could help you fight your case. Speak to Jenn and Justie at Colorado Lawyer Team to start exploring your legal options.
The Difference Between Burglary and Theft in Colorado
In the State of Colorado, when a person takes something of value that belongs to someone else without the consent of that individual and with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property from its use, it constitutes theft. Depending on the value of the property the person steals, theft could be categorized as a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony.
This is true regardless if the property was returned undamaged—although that can mitigate ensuing restitution from a damage award at the end of the criminal case, it has no bearing on the charges themselves. Although returning the property does help reduce the restitution requirement or the corresponding civil lawsuit’s damages, it doesn’t change the level of criminal offense charged. A qualified burglary and theft lawyer from our firm could classify how this concept might affect a particular case in the Greenwood Village.
Burglary occurs when someone enters another person’s property with the intent to commit theft or any other type of crime. The crime of burglary is always classified as a felony, but the degree of felony can vary. The penalties for theft and burglary can be harsh and could lead to many years in prison, particularly when an individual is harmed as a result or the crime was committed with the intent to secure a controlled substance.
Colorado Burglary Laws
Colorado Revised Statutes §18-4-201 defines burglary as any circumstance where an individual wrongfully enters or remains on someone else’s property intending to commit any crime other than simple trespassing. It is not burglary if the person legally enters the premises and decides to commit a crime only after they are inside.
Burglary is further classified into four primary categories. Third-degree burglary involves someone breaking to a safe, vault, or any other type of secured container intending to commit a crime.
Second-degree burglary occurs when someone willingly breaks into and unlawfully remains in an occupied structure or building with the intention of committing a crime. Second-degree burglary carries heightened penalties if the structure or building is a “dwelling”—for instance, someone’s home—as opposed to an occupied business or commercial building.
First-degree burglary likewise covers breaking and entering into an occupied structure or building, except that at least one of the following aggravating factors must be present as well:
- A person in the structure is menaced or assaulted during the commission of the offense
- The burglar has explosives on them when they break in
- The burglar—or any accomplices—possesses and threatens the use of a deadly weapon
- The burglar—or any accomplices—actually uses a deadly weapon
Finally, possession of burglary tools or any other implement intended to aid someone to forcibly enter a property or steal a physical object may qualify as a criminal offense as well. Our skilled attorneys understand how law enforcement and prosecutors in Greenwood Village construct burglary and theft cases and uses every tool at their disposal to vigorously defend our interests.
Penalties for Burglary in Colorado
Possession of burglary tools and third-degree burglary are generally charged as class 5 felonies in Colorado, with penalties including one to three years of imprisonment—with mandatory two years of parole—and/or fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. However, third-degree burglary becomes a class 4 felony if the property stolen is a legally controlled substance stored in or on the premises. Penalties include two to six years of imprisonment—with mandatory three years of parole—and/or fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.
All second-degree burglaries in Colorado are also categorized as class 4 felonies, unless the burglary involves a dwelling or lawfully controlled substance, in which case it becomes a class 3 felony. Second-degree burglary as a class 3 felony could be punishable by four to 12 years of imprisonment with mandatory five years of parole, as well as fines ranging from $3,000 to $750,000.
Finally, first-degree burglary in Colorado is usually a class 3 felony, unless it involves a lawfully controlled substance or violent crime, such as with the use of a deadly weapon. First-degree burglary involving a controlled substance carries penalties of eight to 24 years of imprisonment with mandatory five years of parole, in addition to fines ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000. Burglary in the first degree involving a violent crime incurs a mandatory prison term of 16 to 48 years.
Theft Laws in Colorado
Someone commits theft when they knowingly take something of value from another individual with the intention to deprive that person of their property permanently. If the value of the property stolen totals less than $50, the theft is categorized as a petty offense. For property worth $50 or more but worth less than $2,000, the crime is classified as either a class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanor with penalties as follows:
- Class 3 misdemeanors involve stolen property valued between $50 to less than $300 and may be punished by up to six months of imprisonment and/or fines ranging from $50 to $750
- Class 2 misdemeanors involve stolen property valued between $300 to less than $750 and may be punished by three to 12 months of imprisonment and/or fines ranging from $250 to $1,000
- Class 1 misdemeanors involve property valued between $750 to less than $2,000 and may be punished by six to 18 months of imprisonment and/or fines ranging from $500 to $5,000
Finally, when the value of the stolen property meets or exceeds $2,000, the theft is classified as a felony. The penalties for theft subsequently increase considerably based on the value of the property stolen.
If the property value totals $1,000,000 or more, penalties could include up to 24 years of imprisonment. Felony theft includes acts like embezzlement or even promising to do work and taking money for a job without completing it.
A knowledgeable Greenwood Village theft and burglary lawyer could thoroughly investigate the circumstances of an alleged offense and advise you of the potential penalties if you are convicted. In addition, our criminal defense attorneys may be able to provide valuable guidance about the implications of any criminal outcome—whether it is a plea deal or trial disposition—on a corresponding civil case.
Call a Seasoned Greenwood Village Burglary and Theft Attorney for Help
Colorado burglary and theft charges often carry severe penalties, including the possibility of many years in prison. A Greenwood Village burglary and theft attorney from Colorado Lawyer Team could discuss your case with you, answer your questions, and counsel you regarding your best choices moving forward.
Jenn and Justie are ready to help you with your case. Call us today for a free 30-min consultation.