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CRS 18-4-202

Colorado First-Degree Burglary

Colorado Statute CRS 18-4-202, known as first-degree burglary, is a  Class 3 felony offense punishable by up to 12 years in prison and/or up to $750,000 in fines. It is defined as unlawfully entering another person’s property with the intent to commit a crime, assaulting that person, or possessing a deadly weapon.

Let’s face it. Life happens.

No one wants to get in trouble, but when it happens, what do you do?

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, the best decision you can make is to
hire a good criminal defense attorney. With the right defense lawyer in your corner, you
will be advised and guided towards the best outcome for your case.

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Penalties for Burglary in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalties
First-Degree Burglary Class 3 Felony
  • Up to 12 years in prison
  • Up to $750,000 in fines
Second-Degree Burglary Class 4 Felony
  • Up to 6 years in prison
  • Up to $500,000 in fines
Third-Degree Burglary Class 5 Felony
  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • Up to $100,000 in fines
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-4-202, 18-4-203, 18-4-204.)

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You


The elements of the crime of first degree burglary are:

  1. That the defendant,
  2.  in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. knowingly,
  4. entered unlawfully, or remained unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry,
  5. in a building or occupied structure,
  6. with intent,
  7. to commit a crime therein against another person or property, and
  8.  in effecting entry or while in the building or occupied structure or in immediate flight from the building or occupied structure,
  9.  the defendant or another participant in the crime committed the crime of assault or the crime of menacing against any person OR the defendant or another participant in the crime was armed with explosives OR  the defendant or another participant in the crime used a deadly weapon or possessed and threatened the use of a deadly weapon
  10. If there is an affirmative defense raised, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.

Possible Defenses for First-Degree Burglary


First-degree burglary is a serious crime. You could spend years in prison if you’re convicted of first-degree burglary. To convict you, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime.

The following elements are required to make a first-degree burglary conviction:

  • You knowingly entered or remained on another person’s property
  • You had the intent to commit a crime other than trespassing
  • While committing the burglary you or someone with you also assaulted another person,  possessed/used/or threatened to use explosives or a deadly weapon, or used/threatened to use a deadly weapon

A Colorado criminal defense attorney can defend you against these charges using a solid defense strategy.

Possible defenses for a first-degree burglary charge include:

  • Your presence on the property was lawful
  • You were unaware you were on the property unlawfully
  • Aggravating circumstances (assault, possession of a deadly weapon, etc.) cannot be proven
  • Law enforcement misconduct in gathering evidence

When you’ve been charged with first-degree burglary in Colorado, speaking with a criminal defense lawyer may be your best shot at getting your charges dismissed or reduced.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-202:

(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.

Have you been charged with first-degree burglary in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?


A first-degree burglary charge is the highest charge for burglary in Colorado. A conviction could result in over a decade in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Subsequently, a felony criminal charge will strip you of your civil rights and protections so that you’ll have difficulty functioning in society even after your prison sentence ends. You can protect yourself against burglary charges by understanding the laws that control your charges and by hiring an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer to represent you in your case. Contact our team today to discuss your charges.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is considered a deadly weapon in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, a deadly weapon is defined as a firearm, loaded or unloaded, a knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon or instrument, animate or inanimate, capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.


Examples of a deadly weapon can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Guns
  • Knives
  • Chainsaws
  • Metal tools, like a hammer
  • Baseball bats
  • Brass knuckles


Remember that a deadly weapon does not have to be used to constitute a crime. It need only be threatened use.

What is considered assault in Colorado?

Assault can be interpreted in many ways in Colorado.


The legal definition for assault is unlawfully causing bodily injury to another person, including but not limited to:

  • Throwing objects at another person
  • Pushing, shoving, or kicking someone
  • Shooting, stabbing, or strangling someone
  • Hitting, slapping, or punching someone
  • Causing pain to someone in any way

What is the difference between theft, robbery, and burglary in Colorado?

Theft, robbery, and burglary are terms often used interchangeably. Although they may share some common elements, they are considered separate crimes in Colorado.


Theft is taking anything of value from someone without their consent. Robbery involves taking property by use of threats, force, or intimidation. And burglary is unlawfully entering a property to commit any crime, theft included.

Areas Served


El Paso County

Douglas County


Arapahoe County

  • Centennial
  • Englewood
  • Greenwood Village
  • Cherry Hills Village
  • Foxfield
  • Sheridan
  • Columbine Valley
  • Byers
  • Southglenn
  • Castlewood
  • Peoria

Pueblo County

Teller County

Fremont County

  • Coaldale
  • Cotopaxi
  • Hillside
  • Howard
  • Texas Creek
  • Wellsville