Burglary

Being charged with Burglary in Iowa is a very serious offense and can have long lasting negative effects on a person if convicted.  

What is burglary in Iowa?

Burglary in Iowa is defined as: 

“Any person, having the intent to commit a felony, assault or theft therein, who, having no right, license or privilege to do so, enters an occupied structure, such occupied structure not being open to the public, or who remains therein after it is closed to the public or after the person’s right, license or privilege to be there has expired, or any person having such intent who breaks an occupied structure, commits burglary.”

The state is required to prove burglary in one of two ways:

1) That a person broke into or entered an occupied structure not open to the public; 2) that the person did not have a right to break and enter; and 3) the person had the intent to commit a felony, assault or theft once inside.  

OR

2) That a person entered an occupied structure that was open to the public or the person had permission to enter the structure; 2) the person remained in the structure after it was closed to the public or their right to be in the structure had expired; and 3) the person had the intent to commit a felony, assault or theft once inside. 

Degrees

There are varying degrees of Burglary that are recognized in Iowa: 

First Degree

A person commits First degree burglary when the state also proves that one or more persons are present in the structure and that the person has an explosive device, possesses a dangerous weapon, intentionally or recklessly inflicts injury on any person or the person performs a sex act with any person that would constitute sexual abuse.  First degree burglary is a Class B felony, carrying a potential 25 year sentence.  First degree burglary is also a forcible felony. That means that a person convicted of First Degree burglary must serve a mandatory 75% of the 25-year sentence. 

Second Degree

A person commits Second degree burglary when there are no persons present in the structure and the person possesses an explosive device, possesses a dangerous weapon, or inflicts injury on any person OR a burglary is committed while there are one or more persons present.  Second degree burglary is a Class C felony.  2nd degree burglary is punishable by a maximum 10-year prison term and fine up of to $10,000. 

Third Degree

Third degree burglary is a “catch-all” provision.  Third degree burglary covers all burglaries that are not covered by first or second degree burglary and also includes burglary of unoccupied motor vehicles. A first offense burglary of an unoccupied vehicle is an aggravated misdemeanor.  This crime is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $625 to $6,250.  All other third degree burglaries and second or subsequent vehicle burglaries are class D felonies.  Third Degree Burglary charged as a Class D felony is punishable by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine up to $7,500. 

In Iowa, you can even be charged with a crime for merely possessing “burglar’s tools.”  If the state proves that you possessed tools, keys, instruments, devices or explosives that were intended to be used to commit a burglary, you can be convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $625 to $6,250.

How a Conviction Can Affect You

A conviction for burglary can have long-lasting or permanent effects on a person.  As several of the degrees of burglary are felonies, a conviction for this crime can strip you of your voting and gun ownership rights.  A burglary is considered a “crime of dishonesty,” and may cause you to have difficulty in maintaining or securing employment.  If you are not a U.S. citizen, a burglary charge may also lead to your deportation or other immigration consequences.  

Lawyer Up

It is important to note that the state is required to prove each and every element of the crime of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt.  That means that they have to prove, in addition to the basic elements of burglary, the identity of the perpetrator, that the person had the intent to commit a felony, assault, or theft, or, in certain circumstances, that a person possessed a weapon, caused bodily harm, or that the dwelling was occupied at the time of the crime. 

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