It was past midnight in the town of Farmington, Colorado when shouting erupted in the 1400 block area of North Laguna Avenue. A young woman had arrived home to find her back door smashed open, and she had a good idea of who might have been responsible—her ex-boyfriend, semiprofessional MMA fighter Stephen Malouff. Malouff and his girlfriend had been living together in the residence, but Malouff had left the house after the two of them had gotten in an argument.
Frightened by the idea that her upset ex was near the house, the young woman fled the residence and hid in her vehicle. Sure enough, Malouff appeared on the scene soon after, spotting his former girlfriend and running towards her. After Malouff struck her vehicle angrily with his hands, the woman fled the scene.
Suddenly, the screech of sirens filled the air. Farmington police officers had been dispatched to a suspected burglary, and had located Malouff’s vehicle in the neighborhood. Upon seizing Malouff and searching his vehicle, the officers found a black bag and a bottle of alcohol.
Now, Malouff is facing residential burglary charges, as well as breaking and entering, felony criminal damage to property, resisting arrest, and his third DUI offense. However, Malouff’s lawyer, Eric Morrow, says the residential burglary charges are unjust.
According to Morrow, Malouff lived at the residence he allegedly burglarized with his girlfriend. The couple had been having relationship problems, and Malouff had only returned after their fight to pick up his belongings.
As the criminal defense attorney told reporters from The Daily Times, “You can’t burglarize your own residence. You can’t break into your own residence.”
Colorado law states that burglary is a person entering a property without permission intending to commit a crime inside. A person could be charged with burglarizing/trespassing on their own property if the property is co-owned or if there is another resident that has legally restricted entry.
The issue typically arises in domestic violence cases like Stephen Malouff’s, as well as tenant-landlord disputes.
Below, we’ve listed some of the reasons you could be charged with burglarizing your own home in Colorado:
The laws surrounding burglarizing your own property are not black and white, and often it’s up to the court to decide whether you entered a property unlawfully or not. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and devise an aggressive strategy for your defense. With their guidance and legal representation, you are in a better position to have your residential burglary charges reduced or dropped.