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What are the components of burglary?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Property Crimes |

If you live in Colorado, you may benefit from learning more about how the state identifies the components of burglary. Under common law, burglary is generally defined as the unlawful entry into almost a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. Like many states, Colorado classifies burglary crimes into three degrees depending on the type of structure, the crimes intended, the crimes committed inside, and the weapons used.

Components of burglary

State laws broadened the scope of the crime, but the core elements of the crime have remained the same since common law. Unlawful entry, with or without force, is the primary element of burglary. Once inside the structure, the person must have criminal intent or commit a crime. Theft is not required for a person to commit burglary. Other crimes that could qualify as elements of burglary include vandalism or destruction of property.

Degrees of burglary

In Colorado, third-degree burglary involves someone with criminal intent unlawfully entering equipment like a vault, register, vending machine, safe, product dispenser, or coin telephone. Second-degree burglary occurs when an unlawful entry with criminal intent occurs against a person or property within. First-degree burglary requires assault, menacing, or threatening the use of deadly weapons during the act. In Colorado, one of the other property crimes you can be charged with is possession of burglary tools.

Burglary in court

Third-degree burglary is a Class 5 felony in Colorado, punishable by up to 3 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. This is a Class 4 felony if it was to obtain controlled substances. Second-degree burglary is a Class 4 felony carrying up to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. First-degree burglary is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to $750,000 in fines and 12 years in prison.