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CRS 18-4-502 — Colorado First-Degree Criminal Trespass

Colorado Springs First-Degree Criminal Trespass Lawyer

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Colorado statute CRS 18-4-502—known as first-degree criminal trespass—is a Class 5 felony that occurs when a person willfully enters the residence or dwelling of another person without their consent. This charge also applies when a person unlawfully enters another person’s motor vehicle in order to commit criminal activity.

Penalties for First-Degree Criminal Trespass in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
First-Degree Criminal Trespass Class 1 Misdemeanor

 

  • Maximum of $1,000 in fines and/or
  • 364 days in jail
Second-Degree Criminal Trespass Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Maximum of $750 in fines and/or
  • 120 days in jail
Third-Degree Criminal Trespass Petty offense
  • Maximum of $300 in fines and/or
  • 10 days in jail
Second-Degree Criminal Trespassing on agricultural land in Colorado with intent to engage in felony criminal activity Class 4 Felony
  • Fines of $2,000–$500,000 and/or
  • 2–6 years in prison

 

Third-Degree Criminal Trespassing on agricultural land in Colorado with intent to engage in felony criminal activity Class 5 Felony
  • Fines of $1,000–$100,000 and/or
  • 1–3 years in prison
First-Degree Criminal Trespassing of an occupied or inhabited dwelling Class 6 Felony
  • Fines of $1,000–$100,000 and/or
  • 1–18 months in prison
  • 1 year mandatory parole
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-202, 18-3-203, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406, 18-1.3-501.)

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You

To prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed first-degree criminal trespass, the prosecutor must prove the following elements, as outlined in Colorado criminal law:

  1. You were, in fact, physically in the dwelling in question
  2. You knowingly entered a private dwelling
  3. You entered the property without the owner’s consent
  4. If the property was a motor vehicle, you entered it with the intent to perform a criminal activity
  5. 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 Trespass in Colorado

he best defenses for first-degree criminal trespass are that:

  • You weren’t in the dwelling and were misidentified as the trespasser (i.e., video footage).
  • You were unaware that you were entering a private dwelling
  • You had the consent of the property owner to enter
  • The property didn’t qualify as a dwelling under the legal definition
  • You had no intention of committing a crime in the vehicle you entered

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-502:

A person commits the crime of first degree criminal trespass if such person knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling of another or if such person enters any motor vehicle with intent to commit a crime therein. First degree criminal trespass is a class 5 felony.

Have you been charged or arrested for first-degree criminal trespass in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

A criminal trespass charge puts you at risk for hefty fines, jail time, and even prison. For a prosecutor to achieve your conviction, they must prove your guilt to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s crucial to understand Colorado law regarding first-degree criminal trespass charges and how a Colorado Springs District Attorney will use it in your specific case.

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

Call today for a free case evaluation.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between first- and second-degree criminal trespass?

First-degree criminal trespass involves the offender entering or remaining in another person’s dwelling unlawfully – or without their consent. It also includes entering another person’s vehicle unlawfully, but only if they intended to commit a crime.

Second-degree criminal trespass, on the other hand, applies to those who unlawfully enter another person’s vehicle or their property when it was enclosed to prevent intruders. This includes fenced-in areas of private property as well as lobbies and other common areas of apartment complexes, condos, or hotels.

What is a dwelling under Colorado Law?

When it comes to criminal trespassing, a dwelling is considered a structure or portion of a structure whose use is to be a home or a designated sleeping place for its resident.

Dwellings are not limited to traditional homes, though, and can include:

  • Apartments
  • Houses
  • Attached garages
  • Condos
  • Trailer homes
  • Jail cells

Does a criminal trespassing conviction affect immigration status?

Those who are not U.S. citizens and are accused of first-degree criminal trespass may need to be more careful about plea bargains for this charge in Colorado.

Some trespassing circumstances could be considered immorally deviant by the court and pose the risk of deportation. An expert criminal defense attorney can help navigate the complex waters of criminal charges and immigration.