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Colorado First-Degree Criminal Tampering

Colorado Springs First Degree Criminal Tampering Lawyer

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Colorado Statute CRS 18-4-505—or first-degree criminal tampering—is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. It is defined as tampering with the property of a public utility or institution with the intent to interrupt or impair service.

Penalties for First-Degree Criminal Tampering in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
First-Degree Criminal Tampering Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $1,000
Second-Degree Criminal Tampering Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $750
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-4-505, 18-4-506)

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You of First Degree Criminal Tampering

The elements of the crime of criminal tampering in the first degree are:

  1. That the defendant,
  2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. with intent,
  4. to cause interruption or impairment of a service rendered to the public by a utility or by an institution providing health or safety protection,
  5. tampered with property of a utility or institution, and
  6.  his [her] conduct did not constitute the crime of tampering with equipment associated with oil or gas gathering operations, or the crime of tampering with a utility meter.
  7. If there is an affirmative defense raised, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.

Possible Defenses for First-Degree Criminal Tampering in Colorado

Criminal tampering charges—whether first- or second-degree—can result in jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. But before you can be convicted of a crime, the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

For a first-degree criminal tampering charge, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant tampered with the property of a utility or institution providing health or safety protection
  • The defendant did so intending to cause interruption or impairment of service

A Colorado defense attorney may be able to help you reduce or dismiss your charges by building a defense strategy on your behalf. Possible defenses for first-degree criminal tampering include:

  • You weren’t tampering with the property of a utility or institution providing health or safety protection
  • You had no intention of causing interruption or impairment of service
  • The prosecution is unable to prove the elements of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt

A Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction in Colorado Springs will stay on your record for three years following the end of your sentence. That’s three years of damage to your reputation, missed opportunities, and reduced quality of life.

Don’t leave your livelihood up to chance. Consult with a qualified Colorado criminal defense attorney at Right Law Group.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-505:

Except as provided in sections 18-4-506.3 and 18-4-506.5, a person commits the crime of first degree criminal tampering if, with intent to cause interruption or impairment of a service rendered to the public by a utility or by an institution providing health or safety protection, he tampers with property of a utility or institution. First degree criminal tampering is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Have you been charged with first-degree criminal tampering in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

If you face a first-degree criminal tampering charge, speaking with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney may help your case. At Right Law Group, we’ve resolved criminal charges for more than 2,500 Colorado residents, helping them get back on their feet. We’ll build a solid attorney-client relationship, and give you an honest assessment of the charges against you and possible defense strategies to help you protect your rights.

Let’s discuss your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

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Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    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

    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

    Advisement of

    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

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    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 /

    Pretrial Conference /

    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


    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

    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

    Pretrial Readiness

    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

    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


    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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are examples of public utilities in Colorado Springs?

Public utilities in Colorado Springs include:

  • Denver Water
  • Colorado Natural Gas
  • Xcel Energy
  • Colorado Sewer Service

What are some examples of first-degree criminal tampering in Colorado?

Colorado law defines first-degree criminal tampering as tampering with the property of a public utility or institution intending to interrupt or impair a service rendered to the public. Examples can include shutting off power to a hospital or intentionally tampering with gas, water, or sewer utilities.