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What is the Law on Burglary in Iowa and What are the Punishments for it?

Burglary, in Iowa, means a person enters or remains in pre-occupied building or vehicle illegally. The intent might be to commit to a felony assault or to commit a theft. The term burglary varies in its definition among each state in the United States.

In Iowa, the law states that the occupied structure where the burglary has happened can be building or a vehicle which is used to stay overnight, or a place to carry out any business, or a place to store to valuable goods.
One of the most common crime is home invasion where the burglary has taken place in home independent of whether people inside the home or not. The penalties also vary depending on the circumstance under which the burglary is attempted.

The elements considered before declaring it as a burglary

Both the elements of the crime, i.e., entering an occupied structure and attempt to commit felony assault or theft must be proved without any doubts and establish that the defendant had entered the occupied structure with an intent of committing theft or felony assault.

Iowa Burglary Laws
If insufficient proof is provided and doubts exist, the prosecutor may judge it as other crimes such as attempted burglary or trespassing, and not stealing.

  • Entering an occupied structure

The laws in Iowa states that if the defendant enters or breaks into an occupied structure for which he doesn’t have permission or remaining in an occupied structure after the time he had permission to be there has expired constitutes as the first element in a burglary.

Examples of remaining in an occupied structure are when he enters a shop or business place during the operation hours and hides inside when the place is being shut and attempts a theft, or scenario where he attended a party for which he had an invitation but stayed long after the party to attempt a felony assault or to commit a theft.

Burglary Laws Iowa

  • The intent of committing a felony assault or theft

The second element considers the state of mind of the defendant when he entered the occupied structure. If it is established that his intention was to commit a felony assault or to commit a theft, it is treated as burglary and appropriate punishments are levied. 

Iowa Punishments for Burglary

There are three degrees of punishments for burglary in Iowa:

In the first degree, if the defendant had possessed an explosive device, a dangerous weapon or involves in a sex act which causes injuries and is a reckless act then it is a Class B felony in Iowa and the defendant must serve 75% of a 25-year sentence.

If at the time of defendant entering an occupied structure where no persons were present, but defendant possessed an explosive device, dangerous weapons, inflicts injury or when one or more persons were present, and he attempts a burglary, it is considered as a second degree. It is Class C felony and punishments include a fine of $10, 000 followed with a maximum 10-year sentence.

Burglary Laws

The third degrees involve all other burglaries not part of the first and second degree, and also covers burglary of unoccupied motor vehicles. Burglary of an unoccupied motor vehicle is charged with a fine of $625 to $6,250. The third degree is Class D felony and sentence term is of maximum 5-years with a fine of up to $7,500.

A person convicted with burglary has long-lasting effects on the person. You cannot vote and lose ownership rights in Iowa. As it is a crime of dishonesty, the person may fail to secure a job after his sentence. The situation is more alarming if you are not a U.S. citizen as it leads to deportation with other immigration consequences.


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