Grand Junction Burglary Defense Lawyers
Burglary is a serious type of theft crime, and in Colorado, a conviction for burglary has severe consequences. Those convicted can face anywhere from a year to several decades behind bars. Even upon release, a convicted burglar will lose certain rights due to being labeled a felon. If you or a loved one is facing burglary charges, your best course of action is to hire a Grand Junction attorney with a proven track record of success.
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, our trial lawyers have dedicated their careers to protecting Coloradans from overzealous prosecution. We believe that everyone deserves proper representation, and we know that public defenders just can’t provide the support that we can. Contact us today at (970) 243-4357 so we can get started building the best possible defense on your behalf.
Theft, robbery, and burglary are often used interchangeably by people on the street and even the news at times. However, these crimes have important distinctions, and should never be treated as the same offense – since they will be treated differently in a court of law.
Theft: Theft, whether it be petty or grand, is the act of taking property that does not belong to you. You don’t have to interact with another person in order to commit theft. All you have to do is take possession something that isn’t yours. For example, picking up a lost wallet and pocketing the cash inside would count as theft, despite the fact that you did not take the wallet from its owner.
Robbery: Unlike theft, robbery requires the act of taking property from another person. Robbery also requires the use of force, or the threat of force. Pulling a gun out at a bank, for example, would be considered a case of robbery. Due to the use of force, robbery is usually considered a much more serious crime than theft.
Burglary: Under Colorado law, burglary is when a person knowingly enters a building, occupied structure, or locked container with the intent to commit a crime inside against another person or property. In fact, burglary doesn’t have to involve actual theft (the intended crime might be something else, like vandalism), although it is most often associated with stealing.
Generally speaking, burglary isn’t charged as a single offense, but in conjunction with other crimes. These crimes might range from misdemeanors, like trespassing, to violent crimes, potentially even kidnapping if the alleged burglary involved moving people to different locations. Burglary by itself is a felony charge. As such, the penalties for burglary can be incredibly harsh.
In Colorado, burglary is divided into three classes. You can be charged as follows:
- Third-degree burglary is the least serious form of burglary, and occurs when a person breaks into a locked container or box of some sort with the intent to commit a crime. Examples include vaults, safes, vending machines, cash registers, coin depositories, parking meters, and the like. The penalties for third-degree burglary range from one to three years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
- Second-degree burglary is when a person knowingly and unlawfully breaks into a building or location with the intent to commit a crime. Examples include a house, a place of business, a cabin, a tool shed, a trailer home, a hotel room, an apartment, or a detached garage. The penalties range from two to 12 years in prison, with a maximum fine of $750,000.
- First-degree burglary is the same as second-degree burglary, except the defendant is accused of using or threatening violence during the commission of the crime. For example, threatening someone with a weapon, even if you didn’t use the weapon while the burglary took place, would be charged as first-degree burglary. The penalties range from four to 48 years in prison, depending on the level of violence involved.
In addition, burglary of a controlled substance carries stiffer penalties. It is likely you will be facing other charges as well, such as theft, property damage, trespassing, assault, and more. These related offenses don’t just add to your criminal record -- they also elongate your prison sentence, going from a few years to a few decades, as well as pile on potential fines. Even a more minor charge of third-degree burglary could still result in a lengthy prison sentence if there are related charges added on. That is why finding the best defense is the most important step you can take.
Burglary is an intent crime. This means that the prosecution must be able to prove that you truly intended to commit burglary. If they are unable to do that, then they may have to resort to charging you with a lesser crime, such as petty theft, or drop your charges altogether. Attacking the prosecution’s attempt to prove your intent is one of the best ways to defend against burglary; however, there are a few other defenses that can also be implemented, including:
- You were on the property lawfully.
- You were unaware that you were on the property illegally.
- You are not the alleged criminal, and your identity has been mistaken.
- The police officers involved committed misconduct.
Always remember that the prosecution has the burden of evidence. Defendants do not have to prove they are innocent, just provide enough evidence so that the jury has reasonable doubt as to their guilt. However, accomplishing that can be difficult for those who don’t know their way around a courtroom. If you want to have the best possible outcome at your trial, you need to work with a skilled attorney.
No matter the circumstances, your best option when facing burglary charges is to talk to an experienced Grand Junction criminal defense lawyer. At Peters & Nolan, LLC, our clients’ welfare is our top priority. We believe everyone who has been charged with a crime is entitled to vigorous and effective representation, and we want to be the ones to provide you with just that. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free and confidential evaluation.
- Charges: Second degree burglary and tampering with evidence
∗ Result: Plea to trespassing, deferred sentence
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∗ Not all criminal cases are the same. These results are from actual cases handled by the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. This is not a representation, guarantee or promise as to the results or outcome of your particular matter.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.