Burglary is a serious charge under Iowa law. A conviction can result in serious penalties, including possible prison time. Burglary is defined in Iowa as entering an occupied structure with the intent to commit a felony, a theft or an assault while inside. There are several degrees of burglary in Iowa. One can be charged with first degree burglary if they were in possession of a weapon, incendiary device or material, or committed a criminal sex act or inflicted serious bodily injury on a person while committing the burglary.
Second degree burglary occurs if there were no people present in the structure, or if people were present but the defendant had no weapon or incendiary device, or committed no assault or criminal sex act. First and second degree burglary are felonies. All other burglaries are charged as third degree burglary, which can be a felony or aggravated misdemeanor, depending on the facts.
It is important to remember that a person facing criminal charges in Iowa does not have to prove their innocence. It is the state that must prove guilt, and it must do so beyond a reasonable doubt. The state must prove every element of the crime, which means the prosecution must prove the defendant entered the building and had the required criminal intent when doing so.
Depending on the degree of burglary charged, the state must also prove other necessary elements, such as that the defendant was in possession of a weapon or incendiary material, or intended to commit a specific crime such as sexual assault. The defense can fight the charges by casting reasonable doubt on any of these elements.
Source: Iowa Code §§ 713.1-.7, accessed Oct. 25, 2015