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CRS 18-4-202 – Colorado First-Degree Burglary

18-4-202 First-Degree Burglary

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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.

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.

Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

Call today for a free case evaluation.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

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.