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Colorado Springs Trespassing Attorney

There are many reasons a person might enter someone else’s property.

Not all those who trespass have unlawful or malicious intentions, but that doesn’t change the fact that the act of trespassing alone is a crime.

If you’re facing criminal trespassing charges, you need expert criminal defense lawyers who can guide you through the legal process and ensure you’re treated fairly.

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What is Trespassing?

The act of trespassing in Colorado occurs when a person knowingly enters another person’s property without their consent. The crime can be charged in varying degrees depending on what type of property the alleged trespasser entered and their intent when entering that property.

Degrees of Trespassing in Colorado

According to Colorado law, trespassing falls into three different degrees of severity. The factors that impact the severity of this charge can be complex, and a Colorado Springs trespassing attorney can help you navigate the legal process.

Third-Degree Criminal Trespass Charges

Third-degree trespassing occurs when an individual enters or stays on another person’s property without consent. The least severe of the three degrees of trespassing in Colorado, this charge is often given when the trespassing individual knew the owner of the property or posed no threat to them.

Second-Degree Criminal Trespass Charges

Second-degree trespassing occurs when an individual enters fenced or enclosed private property without the owner’s consent. This applies to common areas of private dwelling properties like motels, hotels, apartment complexes, and condominiums.

While still less severe than a first-degree criminal trespass, this charge can be elevated to a felony offense when certain aggravating factors are present.

First-Degree Criminal Trespass Charges

The most severe trespassing charge is reserved for those that enter another person’s home unlawfully. A first-degree criminal trespass doesn’t only apply to houses, though; it can apply to any dwelling or living quarters.

A defendant can be charged with this degree of trespassing if they unlawfully enter any of the following:

  • House
  • Apartment
  • Condo
  • Trailer home
  • Attached garage
  • Tent
  • Jail cell

In some cases, entering someone’s motor vehicle can result in a first-degree criminal trespass charge. This is particularly the case if it can be proven that the defendant did so with criminal intent.

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Are Trespassing Consequences Severe?

There are three degrees of trespass charges in Colorado, which can result in a felony or misdemeanor charge. However, even a misdemeanor trespassing charge can result in a sentence that includes jail time.

Penalties for Third-Degree Trespass

Colorado’s trespassing in the third-degree charge is classified as either a class 3 misdemeanor or a petty offense.

A Class 3 Misdemeanor can include up to $750 in fines and a maximum of 6 months in jail. A Class 1 Petty Offense can consist of up to $500 in fines and a maximum of 6 months in jail. Whether any aggravating factors were present during the offense impacts the severity of the sentencing.

Penalties for Second-Degree Trespass

Trespassing in the second degree is typically considered a Class 2 Misdemeanor, depending on the case. A Class 2 Misdemeanor will be charged if certain aggravating factors exist, which raise the penalties to $1,000 in fines and a maximum of 364 days in jail.

Penalties for First-Degree Trespass

First-degree trespassing carries a Class 5 Felony charge and can carry penalties as high as three years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Other Consequences of Criminal Trespass Charges in Colorado

If you’re convicted of a felony-level trespassing charge in Colorado, you’re not just risking your freedom and finances; you could also be risking your future.

Aside from monetary fines and possible jail time associated with the conviction, a felony on your record could mean additional disadvantages in your future. These disadvantages include more limited employment and housing options, custody restrictions, and being prohibited from owning firearms.

Contact a Colorado Springs Trespassing Attorney

You have a lot at stake when you’re facing criminal charges like trespassing. Not only is your freedom at risk, but your financial situation and future employment opportunities could also take a hit.

Having an experienced lawyer on your side is crucial in criminal defense, so call a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney to ensure you’ve explored every possible avenue to mitigate your charges.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4-12 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $750,000 but not less than $3,000
  • 3 years of parole
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

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Ask A Criminal Defense Attorney

At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

What factors impact penalties for trespassing in Colorado?

A factor that could increase a petty trespassing offense to a misdemeanor is whether the property unlawfully entered is considered agricultural land by the county assessor.

Trespassing charges are further increased to felony charges if it can be proven that the accused person intended to commit a felony when entering the premises.

How do you prove trespassing?

The most crucial thing prosecutors must prove in a trespassing case is that the defendant knew—or should have known—that the premises were private property and were not given consent to enter.

Evidence that proves the defendant was aware that they were not permitted on the property includes the presence of barriers like fences, gates, walls, or shrubs. It can also have property signs reading “No Trespassing” or “Private Property.”

How do you beat a trespassing charge?

A few defenses could either lessen the penalties for trespassing or dismiss the charges altogether.

These defenses include:

  • The defendant wasn’t the one that trespassed (i.e., The person on camera footage was someone else)
  • Signage around the property was not visible enough, so the defendant didn’t know not to enter
  • The defendant assumed permission and was not asked to depart from the premises
  • Trespassing occurred due to a threat to the safety of the defendant, their family, or the public

The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to establish that an alleged trespasser was not permitted on the property and that they knew as much.

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