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Criminal lawyer: Iowa burglary defined


door and deadbolt lock
Breaking and entering - the term breaking and entering is not a criminal phrase of art in the Iowa criminal law. But most are familiar with it. Burglary in Iowa does not require breaking-- although it could. Breaking, entering, or remaining in a structure that is capable of being occupied, all without the right, license, or privilege to do so, is required to commit burglary in Iowa. But the criminal law that defines burglary in Iowa also requires the "specific intent" to commit a theft, felony, or assault inside. When persons and weapons are present, the criminal law enhances penalties.

The Iowa criminal code defines burglary as entry into, or remaining inside afterhours, a structure capable of being occupied with the specific intent to commit an assault, felony, or theft therein. All burglaries except for car burglaries and some burglary attempts are felonies.


There are three degrees of burglary. Third degree burglary is burglary of an unoccupied structure or car. Burglary in the third degree, involving an unoccupied structure, is a Class “D” felony in Iowa and is punishable by at most five years in prison. Third degree burglary of an automobile is an aggravated misdemeanor. Attempted third degree burglary is an aggravated misdemeanor and attempted automobile burglary is a serious misdemeanor.


Second degree burglary is when burglars have a gun or bomb or any person inside has a bodily injury capable of healing—or, in the alternative, no one has any bombs, guns, or injuries but the rightful possessors of the property are present during the burglary. Burglary in the second degree is a Class “C” felony and is punishable by at most ten years in prison.


First degree burglary is the most serious of all burglaries. It requires persons present along with bomb, gun, reckless injury, or sexual assault. It is a Class B felony punishable at most by 25 years in prison. Attempted burglary in the first and second degree are considered Class “C” and Class “D” felonies, respectively.


If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged in court with burglary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, or other Iowa community, contact us for a free initial consultation.