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Colorado Unlawful Possession of Weapons on School Grounds

Colorado Springs Unlawful Possession of Weapons on School Grounds Lawyer

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Colorado statute CRS 18-12-105.5—known as unlawfully carrying a weapon on school grounds—is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 1 ½ years in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000. It is defined as the unlawful possession of a deadly weapon on school property without property authority.

Penalties for Possessing a Deadly Weapon at School

Charge Classification Penalty
Unlawful possession of a deadly weapon on school grounds Felony
  • Class 6 – $1,000 to $100,000 fine; 1 to 1 ½ years incarceration
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-12-105.5.)

Possible Defenses for Possessing a Deadly Weapon on School Grounds

Are you facing weapons charges on school grounds? You’re in a tough spot, but you may have options. You can’t be convicted until the prosecution can prove you are guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

They’ll have to prove the following elements:

  1. That the defendant,
  2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. knowingly and unlawfully,
  4. without legal authority,
  5. carried, brought, or had in his/her possession a
  6. deadly weapon, in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon, of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high school, vocational school, or any public or private college, university, or seminary.

With that in mind, a Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you get your charges dropped or reduced by providing the following defenses:

  • You had a small, legal knife (like a pocket knife) and did not intend to use it as a weapon
  • You did not know you had the weapon with you
  • You did not know you were on school grounds
  • The weapon was in your car at all times
  • You were legally permitted to bring the weapon onto school grounds
  • The weapon was discovered during an illegal search and seizure, violating your Fourth Amendment rights

No matter the gravity of your charges, you have the right to a strong defense. Contact our criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your options.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-12-105.5:

18-12-105.5. Unlawfully carrying a weapon – unlawful possession of weapons – school, college, or university grounds

1) A person commits a class 6 felony if such person knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carries, brings, or has in such person’s possession a deadly weapon as defined in section 18-1-901 (3) (e) in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high, or vocational school or any public or private college, university, or seminary, except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class, for the purpose of carrying out the necessary duties and functions of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon, or for the purpose of participation in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team.

(2) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2000, p. 709, § 45, effective July 1, 2000.)

(3) It shall not be an offense under this section if:

(a) The weapon is unloaded and remains inside a motor vehicle while upon the real estate of any public or private college, university, or seminary; or

(b) The person is in that person’s own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under that person’s control at the time of the act of carrying; or

(c) The person is in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance and is carrying a weapon for lawful protection of that person’s or another’s person or property while traveling; or

(d) The person, at the time of carrying a concealed weapon, held a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, as said section existed prior to its repeal; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or

(d.5) The weapon involved was a handgun and the person held a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or

(e) The person is a school resource officer, as defined in section 22-32-109.1 (1) (g.5), C.R.S., or a peace officer, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency as provided in section 16-2.5-101 (2), C.R.S.; or

(f) and (g) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2003, p. 1626, § 51, effective August 6, 2003.)

(h) The person has possession of the weapon for use in an educational program approved by a school which program includes, but shall not be limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.

Have You Been Charged or Arrested for Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

Your charges carry hefty penalties and collateral consequences that can stick with you for life. The best thing you can do to protect your rights and freedoms is to contact a dedicated Colorado criminal defense lawyer. Reach out to our attorneys at Right Law Group to discuss your 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

How does Colorado define a deadly weapon?

Colorado criminal law defines deadly weapons as:

  1. A firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; or
  2.  A knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

Can I conceal carry at school in Colorado Springs?

No. A concealed carry handgun permit alone will not authorize you to enter a Colorado school with a weapon. If you do bring a handgun onto school property, it must be concealed in your vehicle, in a compartment with the vehicle doors locked. There are very few exceptions to this law.

Who is legally authorized to bring weapons on a school campus?

In most cases, individuals who are authorized to have weapons on school property can include:

  • School resource officers
  • Peace officers
  • A person performing an educational program previously approved by the school
  • A person in a private car or another method of transportation not engaged in school activities
  • A person who has left the weapon in the car, in a compartment with the doors locked