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Colorado Second-Degree Criminal Trespass

Colorado Springs Second-Degree Criminal Trespass Lawyer

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Colorado statute CRS 18-4-503—known as second degree criminal trespass—occurs when a person enters or remains unlawfully inside the premises of another person’s enclosed property. This includes fenced-in areas or otherwise enclosed private premises.

Penalties for Second 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.)

Possible Defenses for Second-Degree Criminal Trespass in Colorado

Remember that it is the burden of the prosecutor to prove to the jury that you are guilty of second-degree criminal trespass beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are a few elements that they’ll need to prove, including the following:

  1. You were physically present on the other person’s property
  2. You knew the area was private property
  3. You didn’t have the owner’s consent to be on the premises

Some of the most effective defenses, then, in second-degree trespassing cases are:

  • You were falsely identified as the offender
  • You were not aware the area was private property
  • The property owner gave you consent to be on the property

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-503:

(1) A person commits the crime of second degree criminal trespass if such person:

 (a) Unlawfully enters or remains in or upon the premises of another which are enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders or are fenced; or

(b) Knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in or upon the common areas of a hotel, motel, condominium, or apartment building; or

(c) Knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in a motor vehicle of another.

(2) [Editors note: This version of subsection (2) is effective until March 1, 2022.] Second degree criminal trespass is a class 3 misdemeanor, but:

(a) It is a class 2 misdemeanor if the premises have been classified by the county assessor for the county in which the land is situated as agricultural land pursuant to section 39-1-102 (1.6), C.R.S.; and

(b) It is a class 4 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.

(2) [Editors note: This version of subsection (2) is effective March 1, 2022.] (a) Second degree criminal trespass in violation of subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) of this section is a petty offense, but it is a class 4 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.

(b) Second degree criminal trespass in violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section is a class 2 misdemeanor.

(3) (a) Whenever a person is convicted of, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, receives a deferred judgment or sentence for, or is adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for, a violation of paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section, the offenders drivers license shall be revoked as provided in section 42-2-125, C.R.S.

(b) This subsection (3) is repealed, effective January 1, 2022.

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

Trespassing can come with hefty penalties, including prison, jail time, and expensive fines. A prosecutor will do everything they can to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. With that said, they’ll need sufficient evidence to do so.

Several defenses for this criminal charge include proving you were not the wrongdoer or proving you had consent from the owner to be where you were. Even so, you need to be informed to defend yourself against these charges and their costs.

Understanding the law as it applies to your specific criminal trespass case will go a long way in preparing you for trial and what the El Paso County District Attorney will use as proof against you.

 

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

Does private property have to be posted in Colorado?

You must obtain permission from a property owner to enter the premises legally, and owners do not need to fence their property in or post “private property” signs around it.

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

In second-degree criminal trespassing, the alleged offender is accused of having entered someone else’s property that was clearly set up to discourage intruders. This trespass charge is unique in that it includes entering a vehicle or the common areas of dwellings like hotels and apartment complexes.

 

First-degree criminal trespass involves the offender entering an existing home or dwelling or entering another person’s vehicle with the intent to commit a crime therein.