Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Burglary Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Burglary Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime of burglary is defined by Iowa Code section 713.1 as what 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.


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Thus, burglary in the state of Iowa can be summarized as the crime of entering a building (or improperly remaining in a building) with the intent to commit certain crimes.  Many people incorrectly think that burglary means stealing because so many people who are charged with burglary are accused of breaking in and stealing.  However, burglary can be committed in many ways. Iowa law defines various degrees of burglary, which are discussed below.

Iowa law states that a person commits burglary in the first degree if, while perpetrating a burglary in or upon an occupied structure in which one or more persons are present, any of the following circumstances apply:
a. The person has possession of an explosive or incendiary device or material.
b. The person has possession of a dangerous weapon.
c. The person intentionally or recklessly inflicts bodily injury on any person.
d. The person performs or participates in a sex act with any person which would constitute sexual abuse under section 709.1.
Burglary in the first degree is a class “B” felony in Iowa, meaning that it is punishable by a 25 year prison sentence.

Iowa law states that a person commits burglary in the second degree in either of the following circumstances:
1. While perpetrating a burglary in or upon an occupied structure in which no persons are present, the person has possession of an explosive or incendiary device or material, or a dangerous weapon, or a bodily injury results to any person.
2. While perpetrating a burglary in or upon an occupied structure in which one or more persons are present, the person does not have possession of an explosive or incendiary device or material, nor a dangerous weapon, and no bodily injury is caused to any person. Burglary in the second degree is a class “C” felony, meaning it is punishable by a 10 year prison sentence.


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All burglary which is not burglary in the first degree or burglary in the second degree is burglary in the third degree.
Burglary in the third degree is a class “D” felony, punishable by 5 years in prison, except as provided in subsection 2.
2. Burglary in the third degree involving a burglary of an unoccupied motor vehicle or motor truck as defined in section 321.1, or a vessel defined in section 462A.2, is an aggravated misdemeanor (punishable by up to 2 years in prison) for a first offense. A second or subsequent conviction under this subsection is punishable under subsection 1.

Burglary charges in Iowa are often filed along with other charges in Iowa.  For example, if property is alleged to have been stolen, then a theft charge may also accompany the burglary charge.  In cases where property is alleged to have been taken by force or threat of force, then a robbery charge is often filed.  Similarly, sexual abuse charges are often filed in cases where there is an allegation of sexual abuse.

It should go without saying that burglary charges in Iowa carry the possibility of a lengthy prison term and should be taken seriously.  It is important to properly handle a burglary case from start finish, and for that reason a person who is accused of or charged with burglary in Iowa should promptly seek legal representation.


The attorneys at Puryear Law are ready to put our skill to work on your case. Consult with us today.


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