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Burglary Defense Attorney in Des Moines

Fighting Against Burglary Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the state takes burglary charges very seriously. This is primarily because a person is entering upon someone's "castle" to commit an assault, theft, or another felony. The state will want jail time and a hefty fine in addition to mandatory classes, community service, substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment. On top of that, you will have to deal with the conditions and costs of probation should you avoid prison. Aside from dealing with the state, someone convicted of burglary will put their job at a high risk of losing it in addition to having a felony on their record making it difficult to get a job.

It is a good idea to hire a Des Moines burglary defense lawyer to protect your rights and your freedom. At Feld Law Firm, we can guide you through the criminal process and craft a strategy that will make it difficult for the state to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The more difficult the state's case is against you, the more likely you are able to mitigate the circumstances.

Contact us online or call (515) 996-4441 to get started with a free consultation.

Iowa Burglary Laws

Burglary is generally defined as a person who unlawfully enters an occupied structure without permission and with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault inside the structure. In Iowa, burglary is fit into three “levels” or degrees. In other words, if you were invited into the occupied structure or you had permission to be there, you cannot be convicted of burglary in Iowa. The "intent" element of the crime is determined at the time of entering the occupied structure.

For example, consider that you break into another person's house with the intent to use their phone due to a fire next door to call 911, but after entering the house you decide to take some money on the table. In this situation, you would not be considered guilty of burglary in Iowa because the state would be unable to prove the "intent" element of the law. In this situation, you could be found guilty of trespass, which is a misdemeanor. It should also be noted that to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt you must enter an occupied structure. This means it has to be a structure that is used. For example, if you enter an old abandoned building, it is unlikely that this would be considered an occupied structure.

Degrees of Burglary in Iowa

There are three different degrees of burglary, categorized by severity and the specific circumstances of the event.

Burglary in the first degree requires entering an occupied structure while others are present and:

  • Carrying an explosive device or explosive material
  • Having possession of a dangerous weapon
  • Intentionally or recklessly inflicting bodily injury on any person
  • Participating in a sex act with any person that would constitute sexual abuse

Burglary in the first degree is a class B felony and punishable by up to 25 years in prison. There is not a mandatory minimum sentence if a person is convicted of burglary in the first degree, but it is a forcible felony. Since burglary in the first degree is a forcible felony, a person is not eligible for a deferred judgment. If a person attempts (a.k.a. attempted burglary in the first degree) to do any the above-mentioned, they are guilty of a class C felony.

Burglary in the second degree occurs when:

  • Someone is present and the person entering the structure is in possession of an explosive device or a dangerous weapon, or bodily injury occurs.
  • There is at least one person present and the perpetrator does not have an explosive device, dangerous weapon, and no bodily injury occurs.

Burglary in the second degree is a class C felony and punishable by up to 10 years and a fine of not more than $13,660. It should be noted that for all of the fines, a 15% surcharge is added. Attempted burglary in the second degree is a class D felony. For the D felony attempted burglary, a person could serve up to five years in prison.

All other burglary that is not in the first or second degree is burglary in the third degree. Third-degree burglary is a class D felony except in the case of burglary of an unoccupied motor vehicle or vessel. If a person burglarizes an unoccupied vehicle/vessel, it is an aggravated misdemeanor for the first offense; otherwise it is a class D felony. A class D felony carries up to five years in prison and a $10,245 fine. The aggravated misdemeanor burglary carries up to two years in prison and up to a $8,540 fine.

Additionally, a person who is in possession of burglar’s tools with the intent to use them in a burglary is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.

These tools include but are not limited to:

  • Keys
  • Tools
  • Instruments
  • Crowbars
  • Devices
  • Explosives

Impact of a Burglary Conviction 

Burglary is a serious crime to be accused of committing in Iowa. Being convicted can cost you your job, ruin relationships, limit your job opportunities, and deflate your financial resources. Even though this crime is very serious, a person is still eligible for a deferred judgment for certain burglary offenses. This means a person can have the burglary dismissed from their record and they can legally say they were never convicted of the crime. This is beneficial when it comes to filling out job applications.

Call Feld Law Firm

If you have been charged with burglary in Polk County, you should seek representation from our Des Moines burglary defense attorney at Feld Law Firm. Our attorney would be happy to speak with you, discuss your case, and guide you in the right direction.

Call Feld Law Firm Now at (515) 996-4441.


The Benefits of Hiring Our Firm
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  • Honest and Straight Forward Guidance
  • Not Afraid to go to Trial
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