A trespassing charge in Colorado can have serious consequences – jail time and fines.
Trespassing most often refers to knowingly and illegally entering another person’s private property. In the state of Colorado, trespassing is divided into distinct kinds of trespassing, with each carrying its own form of punishment.
First-degree trespass is defined by CRS 18-4-502 and states:
“First-degree criminal trespass is committed by a person when the individual unlawfully and knowingly enters or stays on another person’s dwelling or if the individual enters any motor vehicle with the intention of committing a crime.”
Tresspass Penalties From Class 1 Petty Offense To Class 5 Felony
There are three different criminal trespass degrees with penalties ranging from class 1 petty offense up to a class 5 felony.
An individual may be charged with the crime of first-degree criminal trespass if they;
- Unlawfully entered the property (without the right to be there or without permission) and knowingly entered or stayed in the property
- If the individual entered a motor vehicle with the intention of committing a crime.
First-degree trespass is classified as a class 5 felony. For class 5 felonies, the minimum penalty is $1,000 in fines and/or 1 year in prison. The maximum penalty is $100,000 in fines and/or three years in prison.
In order for someone to be convicted by the State under the first part of the statute, it must be proven that the alleged trespasser either remained in or entered a dwelling.
In order for the State to convict a person under the second part of this statute, it must be proven that not only did the individual unlawfully entered a motor vehicle but also did so with the intention to commit a crime.
The State must prove what the crime was and also that the individual intended to commit the crime.
An individual may be charged with the crime of second-degree trespass when they:
- Unlawfully remain in or enter another person’s premises which are fenced or enclosed in such a way to exclude intruders; or
- Unlawfully and knowingly remain or enter in the common areas of an apartment building, condominium, motel, or hotel; or
- Unlawfully or knowingly remains or enters into another person’s motor vehicle.
Second-degree trespass is classified as a class 3 misdemeanor. In the state of Colorado, class 3 misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of a $500 to $5,000 fine and/or a 6 to 18-month jail term.
However, it is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor when the premises are classified as being agricultural land. If the individual trespasses on premises that are classified as being agricultural land and had the intent to commit a felony on this land, then it is classified as a class 4 felony.
Third Degree Trespass
Under section 18-4-504 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, a person may be charged with the crime of third-degree trespass when the individual unlawfully remains or enters another person’s premises.
Third-degree trespass is classified as class 1 petty offense, but if the premises are classified as being agricultural land it is a class 3 misdemeanor. Also, it is classified as a class 5 felony if the individual trespasses on premises that are classified as being agricultural land and have the intention of committing a felony on this land.
Having been convicted of the crime carries a maximum fine of $500 or a maximum imprisonment time of six months.
What Type Of Trespassing You Are Charged With?
A primary determination needs to be made in terms of what type of trespassing charge you will be faced with. The charge will depend on the type of property that is at issue (non-enclosed property, enclosed property, a dwelling) and your intention for being on the property (for committing a crime or for another purpose).
However, all types of criminal trespass contain the same main requirement that the accused individual “unlawfully remain on or entered the property.
Since trespassing charges may lead to fines, imprisonment, or both, it is critical to hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer to effectively defend you against trespassing charges.
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