Breckenridge Theft and Burglary Criminal AttorneyClick For A Free Consultation
Have you been charged with a theft crime? You should obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. You face the possibility of jail or prison time, as well as a criminal record. I am J.B. Katz, a criminal defense attorney with more than 20 years of experience. I am aggressive, knowledgeable in criminal defense law and determined to obtain the best possible outcome for every client.
Understanding The Law – Burglary
It’s important to understand as much about the theft laws in Colorado as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can certainly help you with this, but it would benefit you to be knowledgeable about it as well. One of the most serious theft charges includes burglary.
Burglary is defined as knowing entering, or unlawfully remaining on, someone else’s property with the intent to commit a crime other than the trespass. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. There are three main categories that burglary can fall into under Colorado law.
First-Degree Burglary: First-degree burglary is defined as knowingly entering another’s property with the intent to commit a crime, and committing an assault on someone or possessing a deadly weapon. This is charged as a class 3 felony and carries between 4 and 12 years in prison, and you could be fined up to $750,000.
Defenses: The primary defenses to first-degree burglary include arguing that the accused was lawfully on the property, they didn’t know that they were unlawfully on the property, one of the aggravating factors of the crime (committing an assault or possessing a deadly weapon) was not proven, or law enforcement did something unlawful while investigating/collecting evidence.
Second-Degree Burglary: Second-degree burglary is the act of knowingly breaking an entrance into, enters unlawfully in, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime therein. Second-degree burglary is also a class 3 felony.
Defenses: Possible defenses to second-degree burglary are similar to those for first-degree. Your attorney could argue that you were lawfully on the property, you didn’t know that you were unlawfully on the property, the building was not a dwelling, there was misconduct on the part of law enforcement, or you did not intend to commit a crime when you first entered the premises. In order to be convicted of burglary, the intent to commit a crime must have been formed before entering the premises.
Third-Degree Burglary: You can be convicted of third-degree burglary if you break into a safe, a vault, or other locked container with the intent to commit a crime – typically theft. This is a class 2 misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.
Defenses: Additional defenses for any category of burglary charge include mistaken identity or being falsely accused. Often, the only way the police are able to arrest someone and charge them with a burglary charge is due to an eyewitness who claims to see the crime and identify the perpetrator. A good criminal defense attorney will always attack an eyewitness’s credibility and accuracy. If your lawyer raises the defense that you were falsely accused, they will likely point to reasons that someone would accuse you of committing a burglary when it’s not true. Perhaps you were arguing with someone and they are retaliating, or they don’t know who committed the burglary but accuse you simply to hold someone responsible.
An Aggressive Defense Of Your Rights
The penalties for a conviction of one these crimes will vary, depending upon the severity of the offense. Prosecutors may seek stronger punishments if you have committed other crimes in the past. You need to know what rights are available to you in your situation. At my firm, I defend people accused of all types of theft crimes, including:
- Petty theft
- Auto theft
- Credit card fraud
- Passing bad checks
- Other theft crimes
If you are in jail, my first goal will be to get you released on bond or your own recognizance. Whatever your circumstances, I will collect as much information as I can about the circumstances of your arrest. If the case against you appears to be flawed, I may be able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charge or file a lesser charge instead. Many people charged with theft are eligible for deferred judgment outcomes, which can enable you to avoid a conviction and a criminal record. If your circumstances permit, I can seek this outcome for you, as well as an expungement at a later time. If necessary, I will also be fully prepared to go to trial to defend you.
Free Consultation To Individuals Facing Criminal Charges
For a free initial consultation about a theft charge or other criminal matter, call my Breckenridge office at (970) 453-5533 or send me an email. I represent locals and tourists who have been arrested when in the Colorado mountains area.