Third- Degree Trespassing

Trespassing in Colorado is charged in situations where a person unlawfully enters or remains in a place. Because unlawfully “remain[ing] in a place” is prohibited, you can be charged with trespass if you stay somewhere after you are told to leave or are supposed to leave—even if you initially entered lawfully. As with assault, there are different levels, or degrees, of trespass. The degree of trespass gets more serious if the place where you trespass is more private, like a fenced-in area or a home. The degrees of trespass, in order of increasing seriousness, are third-, second-, and first-degree trespass:

3rd Degree trespass[1]:

“(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.

(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense, but:

(a) It is a class 3 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 5 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.”

Even though third-degree trespass is the least serious of the trespass charges, you still face potential jail time and fines if you are charged with it. The amount of possible jail time or fines increases if the place where you trespass is designated as agricultural land. It increases even more if you trespass onto that land with intent to commit a felony there. The different charges are described in the chart below.

Type of Offense Presumptive Penalty Range
Class 1 Petty Offense 0-6 months’ imprisonment and/or $1-$500 fine[2]
Class 3 Misdemeanor (if premises classified as agricultural land) 0-6 months’ imprisonment and/or $50-$750 fine[3]
Class 5 Felony (if trespass on agricultural land with intent to commit felony) 1-3 years’ imprisonment and/or $1,000-$100,000 fine[4]

The court in trespass cases can, however, sentence you to an alternative instead of jail, like in-home detention or work release. And there may be defenses be available to you. If it is your first offense, you may be eligible for a deferred judgment or some other arrangement to keep your record clean. You should discuss your options with a lawyer right away and hire counsel ready to fight for the best outcome. If you’ve been charged with trespassing in Colorado, call a criminal defense attorney at CGH today for a free consultation regarding your case.

[1] C.R.S. § 18-4-504

[2] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-503

[3] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-501

[4] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401