While many Coloradoans think robbery and burglary are the same offense, there are actually some significant differences between the two in the eyes of the law.
Here’s what you need to know about robbery and burglary in Colorado, the difference between them, the charges that can result, and the penalties associated with a conviction.
Two Types of Colorado Robbery
In Colorado, robbery is defined as using intimidation, force, or threats to steal the property of another. Furthermore, there are two different types of robbery charges: simple robbery and aggravated robbery.
Aggravated robbery involves the use of a deadly weapon or threat of the use of deadly weapons in the commission of the crime. You don’t even need to have a weapon in order to be charged with aggravated robbery. A victim only needs to believe you have a weapon that could kill them.
Anyone who is armed with a deadly weapon and wants to use it to maim or wound or kill another person when they resist the robbery or knowingly wounds another with a deadly weapon and putting them in fear of death can be charged.
Penalties for Robbery
If you are convicted of simple robbery, then this Class 4 felony can result in up to six years behind bars. Those convicted of aggravated robbery — an extraordinary risk crime — are subject to enhanced sentencing for the use of a weapon. A conviction can result in up to 16 years imprisonment or 32 years if a deadly weapon is used.
Three Degrees of Burglary in Colorado
Many people think that burglary is theft that involves breaking into someone’s house or business and stealing their property.
While that would count as a burglary in Colorado, you can also be charged with burglary without stealing anything at all.
Burglary is the unauthorized entry onto the property of another with the intent to commit a crime – any crime, not just theft. In Colorado, there are three separate charges for burglary:
This is a Class 5 felony. It can be charged if you break into or enter a coin vending machine, vault, safety deposit box, cash register, or any other apparatus and you intended to commit a crime. The penalties for this crime include up to three years of incarceration and fines up to $100,000.
This is a Class 4 felony. It is committed when someone knowingly breaks into or remains unlawfully in a structure or building that is occupied with the intent to commit a crime. The penalty for this felony is up to six years of incarceration with fines up to $500,000.
This is the most severe burglary charge and is a Class 3 felony. You can be charged with this when you perform the same thing in the second-degree burglary charge but also menace or assault someone who may be inside the building or structure that you entered. You can also be charged if you use a deadly weapon. The penalties for this crime include up to 32 years of incarceration and fines up to $750,000.
It’s important to understand that while you may not intend to burglarize a home or business, you could end up facing charges simply because it is occupied when you enter it.
Someone coming home in the middle of the act, or who is already present, can impact the way you are charged and make the potential sentence faced much harsher.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.