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CRS 18-4-204

Colorado Third-Degree Burglary

Colorado statute CRS 18-4-204—known as third-degree burglary—is a theft crime defined as breaking into a locked vault, safe, or box with the intent to commit a crime. It is a Class 5 felony and is punishable by up to three years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

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 Third-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

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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. with intent,
  4. to commit a crime,
  5. entered or broke into,
  6. any vault, safe, cash register, coin vending machine, product dispenser, money depository, safety deposit box, coin telephone, coin box, or other apparatus or equipment whether or not coin operated.
  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 Third-Degree Burglary in Colorado

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The penalties for a third-degree burglary charge can be severe, as the crime constitutes a class five felony. Third-degree burglary can even carry a class four felony charge if it involves theft or attempted theft of a controlled substance.

Burglary of the third degree encompasses breaking into someone’s property rather than someone’s physical residence or dwelling.

To be charged with burglary of the third degree, one would need to break into any of the following property types with the intent to commit a theft crime:

  • Vault or safe
  • Cash register or money depository
  • Coin vending machine
  • Coin box or money box
  • Locker
  • Slot machine
  • Product dispenser
  • Safety deposit box

To build a criminal defense against a third-degree 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 Third-Degree Burglary

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

They include:

  • Enter—Unlawful entry into the property (i.e., that you didn’t have authorized access to the physical property you broke into)
  • Structure—The person knowingly broke into an unauthorized piece of property or container
  • Intent—The person unlawfully broke into the property with the intent to commit a crime

Possible Defenses for Third-Degree Burglary

Therefore, to successfully defend against a third-degree burglary conviction, you need to prove that:

  • You were on the property lawfully, or that you did not know you were illegally entering the property
  • You broke into a property that is not a type covered under the statute
  • You did not intend to commit the crime before entering the property

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-204:

(1) A person commits third-degree burglary if, with intent to commit a crime, he enters or breaks into any vault, safe, cash register, coin vending machine, product dispenser, money depository, safety deposit box, coin telephone, coin box, or other apparatus or equipment whether or not coin operated.

(2) Third degree burglary is a class 5 felony, but it is a class 4 felony if it is a burglary, the objective of which is the theft of a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), lawfully kept in or upon the property burglarized.

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

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First, you should know that third-degree burglary in Colorado is a crime with serious consequences, including heavy fines and a prison sentence. For the prosecutor to convict you, they will have to convince a jury that you entered the premises 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. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Right Law Group for more help.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What does “third-degree” in burglary mean under Colorado law?

Under Colorado criminal law, burglary in the third degree means that the person broke into a safe, vault, or locked container without legal authority. Third-degree burglary refers to breaking and entering into a locked physical property, like a vault, instead of illegally entering a dwelling, residence, or occupied building (which would constitute a first or second-degree burglary charge).

How much jail time for third-degree burglary in Colorado?

In Colorado, burglary in the third degree is a Class 5 felony and, as such, carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

How serious is third-degree burglary in Colorado?

Committing any type of burglary in Colorado is considered a severe crime and, as such, is given a felony classification. A third-degree burglary in Colorado is severe enough to warrant a Class 5 felony charge and carry up to $100,000 in fines and three years in prison.

Areas Served

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El Paso County

Douglas County

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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