In a burglary case, the prosecution has to prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. They must show that the defendant entered a structure or remained unlawfully and without permission. Perhaps, the most complicated issue is demonstrating that the defendant entered or remained inside with the intent to commit a crime other than trespass.
In order to secure a burglary conviction a prosecutor has to prove two key elements. First, that the person entered or remained unlawfully in, a building or structure without permission. Second, that the person intended to commit a crime other than trespass. When there is no proof that a person intended to commit a crime while trespassing, the offense of burglary cannot be proven. Entering a building or structure without permission is likely the lesser charge of trespass. If intent to commit some other crime cannot be proven, there is no crime of burglary.
Similarly, suppose a defendant was invited to a party and steals something from the location. In that case, it cannot be burglary since the person had permission to be inside.
Colorado Burglary: How to Prove Intent
A prosecutor can prove criminal intent in various ways. The intent element is essentially what the person was thinking during the event. Each case will be different, so the prosecutor’s approach will vary. Below are some examples.
A confession is the surest way to prove intent. When a defendant tells the police that they broke into the building to steal something, those words support the person’s intentions. Similarly, if a person blurts out that they “weren’t going to hurt anyone, just wanted to steal something,” that statement would also be used to show intent.
When there is a confession or statement, it doesn’t mean that the defendant will be convicted. Having an experienced criminal attorney is always essential. A defense attorney can examine the statement, how it was obtained, and whether it is admissible in court.
However, we always recommend that you exercise your right to remain silent. You should always request the presence of your attorney when speaking to any law enforcement officer.
Circumstantial evidence involves the prosecutor using the defendant’s actions to demonstrate what the person intended. There may not be any clear verbal statement, such as “I only wanted to steal, not hurt anyone.” Yet, the prosecutor hopes that action, such as the possession of burglary tools, can be enough to show that the defendant intended to break into the home in order to commit theft. Similarly, if the defendant was in possession of a large duffel, that could be used to demonstrate intent to commit theft from the home or business.
Colorado Burglary Evidence: Burglary Tools
In Colorado, burglary tools can include any device or tool which could be used to break into a structure. Examples include lockpicks, crowbars, screwdrivers, or wire cutters. If a person has burglary tools in their possession, it is a crime to possess them. This crime is a Class 5 felony.
However, location matters. It is not illegal to have most tools in your possession. If you are on another’s property and are caught walking up to the structure while in possession of any thing that could be used to break in, it can lead to a charge of possession of burglary tools.
If you have a burglary charge, there is hope. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Having an experienced burglary defense attorney can help you fight your case. Contact the Moorhead Law Group for a consultation.