Most of us are aware that trespassing is against the law, but to some people it hardly seems like a crime. Certainly, few would expect that they might be sent to prison for years or exposed to huge fines for such a simple act.
The fact of the matter is that Colorado criminal trespass laws treat trespassing very seriously, so much so that trespassing in certain circumstances can result in a felony conviction. There are two different kinds of trespassing charged as a felony:
- Trespassing that is incident to the commission of a crime is frequently charged as a felony.
- Trespassing on certain designated agricultural lands is frequently charged as a felony.
Even the misdemeanor trespassing convictions carry the possibility of a significant term of imprisonment. The following chart outlines the different Colorado criminal trespass laws, the potential charges, and their penalties:
||Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18, Article 4, Part 5
|First Degree Criminal Trespass
- Definition: knowingly and unlawfully entering or remaining in the dwelling of another or entering any motor vehicle with the intent to commit a crime therein.*
- Charge: Class 5 felony
- Penalty: 1-4 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000-$100,000
*Some forms of criminal trespass require intent to commit an additional crime, which makes their definition very similar to the crime of burglary. The difference is often the severity of the intended criminal act. Burglary usually involves theft, while criminal trespassing generally involves less serious offenses such as vandalism.
|Second Degree Criminal Trespass
- Definition: unlawfully enters or remains in premises enclosed or fenced to exclude intruders, knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in the common areas of a hotel, motel, condo, apartment or another's motor vehicle.
- Charge: Class 3 misdemeanor; a class 2 misdemeanor if it is agricultural land; a class 4 felony if it is agricultural land and the person intends to commit a felony there.
- Penalty: Driver's license revocation and:
- 2-6 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,000-$500,000 for a class 4 felony;
- 3 months - 1 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250-$1,000 for a class 2 misdemeanor;
- up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $50 for a class 3 misdemeanor.
|Third Degree Criminal Trespass
- Definition: unlawfully enters or remains in another's premises.
- Charge: Class 1 petty offense; a class 3 misdemeanor if it is agricultural land; a class 5 felony if it is agricultural land and they intended to commit a felony.
- 1-3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000-$100,000 for a class 5 felony;
- up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $50 for a class 3 misdemeanor;
- up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500 for a class 1 petty offense.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
If you would like to learn more about Colorado criminal trespass laws, the following links provide additional information:
Charged with Criminal Trespass in Colorado? Talk to an Attorney
Trespassing is not the sort of crime most people think of as being terribly serious. However, Colorado criminal trespass laws punish some kinds of trespassing harshly. If you've been charged with criminal trespass in Colorado, it's a good idea to contact a local criminal defense attorney so that your trespassing charge doesn't become a larger problem than it needs to be.