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CRS 18-4-203

Colorado Second-Degree Burglary

Colorado statute CRS 18-4-203—known as second-degree burglary—can be a class 4 or class 3 felony. Charged as class 4, it is punishable by two to six years in prison and a mandatory three-year parole term. Second-degree burglary in Colorado is defined as unlawfully entering a building with intent to commit a crime.

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 Second-Degree Burglary in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Burglary: First Degree Felony Class 3: up to $750,000 in fines; up to 12 years incarceration
Burglary: Second Degree Felony Class 3: up to $750,000 in fines; up to 12 years incarceration

Class 4: up to $500,00 in fines; up to 6 years incarceration

Burglary: Third Degree Felony Class 5: up to to $100,000 in fines; up to 3 years incarceration
Burglary: Possessing Tools Felony Class 5: up to $100,000 in fines; up to 3 years incarceration
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-4-202, 18-4-203, 18-4-204, 18-4-205.)


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. broke an entrance into, entered unlawfully in, or remained unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in,
  5. a building or occupied structure,
  6. with intent to commit a crime therein against another person or property, and
  7. 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 Second-Degree Burglary in Colorado


The penalties for a burglary charge can be severe, especially if charged with a Class 3 felony. For a second-degree burglary to be charged as a Class 3 felony, it would need to be a burglary of a dwelling, or the objective of the burglary would need to be theft of a controlled substance.

To build a criminal defense against a burglary charge, it is helpful to understand what the jury needs to prove a theft crime happened beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of offense outline the elements a jury needs to prove to indict for a criminal burglary offense.

Elements of Offense in Second-Degree Burglary

In burglary cases, the prosecution must prove three main elements of the offense for a criminal indictment.

They include:

  • Enter—Unlawful entry
  • Structure—The person knowingly broke into an unauthorized building or occupied structure
  • Intent—They unlawfully entered with the intent to commit therein a crime

Possible Defenses for Second-Degree Burglary

Therefore, to successfully defend against a second-degree burglary conviction, you must prove you did not enter an occupied structure with intent.

Or that:

  • You entered the building or occupied structure lawfully, with permission or authorization
  • You did not know you were illegally entering the property
  • You did not intend to commit a crime while on the property

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-203:

(1) A person commits second-degree burglary, if the person knowingly breaks an entrance into, enters unlawfully in, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in a building or occupied structure with intent to commit therein a crime against another person or property.

(2) Second-degree burglary is a class 4 felony, but it is a class 3 felony if:

  1. It is a burglary of a dwelling;
  2. The objective of the burglary is the theft of a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5), lawfully kept within any building or occupied structure; or
  3. The objective of the burglary is the theft of one or more firearms or ammunition.

Have you been charged or arrested for a second-degree burglary felony in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?


First, you should know that second-degree burglary in Colorado is a crime with severe consequences, including heavy fines and incarceration. For the prosecutor to convict you, they will have to convince a jury that you entered the premise unlawfully and intended to commit a crime upon entering. A criminal burglary charge requires a jury to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many possible defenses to this charge, including whether you were authorized to enter the structure or intended to commit a crime. Still, to defend yourself against a burglary charge, you must understand how the law applies and what the District Attorney in El Paso County must prove to indict you.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is second-degree burglary a felony in Colorado?

Yes, a second-degree burglary can be charged as either Class 3 or a Class 4 felony. For a Class 3 felony criminal charge, the defendant would have had to enter a dwelling unlawfully, and/or they would have unlawfully entered with the intent to steal a controlled substance.

How much jail time could I serve for second-degree burglary in Colorado?

The amount of jail time for burglary in the second degree in Colorado depends on whether the burglary is charged as a Class 3 or Class 4 felony.
A Class 3 felony carries a penalty of up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, while a Class 4 felony carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

What is the statute of limitations on burglary crimes in Colorado?

For petty offense burglaries, the statute of limitations is six months. Misdemeanor charges have a statute of limitation set at 18 months and felony crimes are set at three years.

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