1st Degree Burglary

Burglary occurs when a person breaks into a building with an intent to commit a crime against another person or property once inside. Without an intent to commit a crime inside, unlawfully entering into a building is simply trespassing, not burglary. Many people think of burglary as breaking into a building to commit a theft, but it does not necessarily have to be theft. An intent to commit any crime against another person or property once inside the building—even if it’s not theft—is all that is needed for burglary. If someone breaks into a home intending to assault a person who lives there, that is burglary. The level seriousness of the charge (1st degree burglary, 2nd degree burglary, etc.) depends on certain factors, like the crime attempted to be committed while inside the building, or the use of weapons. If you have been charged with 2nd degree burglary click here. If you have been charged with 3rd degree burglary click here. The definition of 1st degree burglary, and its sentencing ranges, are discussed below.

1st Degree Burglary[1]

“(1) A person commits first degree burglary if the person knowingly enters unlawfully, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry, in a building or occupied structure with intent to commit therein a crime, other than trespass as defined in this article, against another person or property, and if in effecting entry or while in the building or occupied structure or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime assaults or menaces any person, the person or another participant is armed with explosives, or the person or another participant uses a deadly weapon or possesses and threatens the use of a deadly weapon.

(2) First degree burglary is a class 3 felony.

(3) If under the circumstances stated in subsection (1) of this section the property involved is a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), within a pharmacy or other place having lawful possession thereof, such person commits first degree burglary of controlled substances, which is a class 2 felony.

That means that you commit 1st degree burglary if you break into a building and 1) you assault someone, 2) you are armed with explosives, or 3) you use a deadly weapon or possess and threaten the use of a deadly weapon. If one of those factors is not met, then you have not committed first-degree burglary.

1st degree burglary is generally a class 3 felony. But it becomes a class 2 felony if you into a building where controlled substances are lawfully kept (like a pharmacy), and the crime committed inside (or attempted to be committed inside) involves those substances.

If you are charged with committing a Class 3 felony, then you are facing a recommended range of 4-12 years in prison with 3 years of parole and fines ranging from $3,000-$750,000.[2] If you are facing the Class 2 felony because you are accused of breaking into a pharmacy or building where controlled substances are kept and the attempted or committed crime involves controlled substances, then you are facing a recommended range of 8-24 years in prison with five years of parole[3] and possible fines ranging from $5,000-$1,000,000.[4]

If you have been charged with 1st degree burglary, do not delay. Call one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at CGH for a free consultation!

[1] C.R.S. § 18-4-202

[2] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401

[3] If the crime is classified as a “crime of violence,” then the period of parole is 5 years. It is a 3-year period of parole if the crime was not a crime of violence. For the definition of “crime of violence,” see C.R.S. § 18-1.3-406(2).

[4] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401