Fighting Burglary Charges
If you have been accused of burglary, you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, burglary generally occurs where a person knowingly breaks an entrance into a building, with intent to commit a crime therein. The crime may be aggravated depending on whether the entrance was made into a dwelling, the person threatened another during the burglary or the person used a deadly weapon.
Possible Consequences For Burglary
Burglary is most commonly charged as either a class 3 or class 4 felony. Upon conviction of burglary of a building (e.g., a commercial structure), the person faces sentencing for a class four (4) felony of: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of two to six years, but as much as 12 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of three years.
If convicted of burglary of a dwelling or a burglary that involves threats or the use of a deadly weapon, a person faces sentencing for a class three (3) felony of: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of four to 12 years, but as much as 24 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years.
Under some circumstances, a person who is convicted of burglary within 10 years of a prior conviction for burglary may be sentenced under the habitual burglary offender statute and is subject to a mandatory sentence to the Department of Corrections.
Possible Defenses For Burglary
Whether a person is charged with burglary of a commercial structure or burglary of a dwelling, the general approach to defending a burglary remains the same. First, the statute requires that the person acted “knowingly” in entering or remaining unlawfully on the premises. Many times, a person will enter the premises with permission, only later to find out that the permission was terminated without the knowledge of the person. This sometimes happens, for example, when a person’s employment is terminated, but returns to the place of employment to gather personal belongings. Second, a defense may be based on the fact that the person had no intent, at the time of the entry or afterward, to commit any crime. We have seen cases where a person who is heavily intoxicated mistakenly enters the wrong house, not realizing he or she is not quite home yet. It would be important to conduct a thorough investigation to prove that the person simply did not have the intent to commit a crime within the dwelling.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in a second-degree murder case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you in a burglary case in Lakewood, Jefferson County, or across Colorado.