When disaster hits a community anywhere in Adams, Weld, or Denver County Colorado, there never seems to be a shortage of Trespassing (C.R.S. 18-4-504) tickets issued.
Last summer was a particularly difficult year for wild fires in Jefferson and El Paso County, and several other Colorado mountain communities. This year, unusual flooding has hit in Weld, Larimer, and Adams County, including many towns in the northeastern parts of Colorado. When natural tragedies happen, police go into a higher than normal state of alert looking for trespassers. The idea is to protect people who have already been victimized from becoming a victim again of theft or vandalism.
It is not just thieves and vandals that visit disaster areas. There is another kind of person that has no intention of taking someone’s property. He or she is simply curious and they see a disaster as a tourist attraction. They want to see first-hand what they viewed in the news. Last year, I remember reading a story about five people who were ticketed for trespassing into the Waldo Canyon burn area of El Paso County. They wanted to see what became of the Flying W Ranch because it held special memories for them. There will certainly be the same sort of thing happening in Loveland, Ft. Collins, and places like Evergreen, in Jefferson County. The historical flood damage is in the process of being repaired and it will be far too intriguing for some people to resist. Some of those people will venture onto private property unlawfully, and will be cited for Trespassing.
Another kind of person who is frequently ticketed for Trespassing is the thrill seeker. People with a high need for adventure may see a fence around a water tower in Aurora, or a construction crane in Westminster, or a radio tower in Highlands Ranch as a challenge. These people have no intention of harming someone, or depriving someone of their property. They simply want to have fun. However, when police are called in they will often be cited for Third Degree Trespassing (C.R.S. 18-4-504). If police think they can prove it was done in order to commit another crime, they may arrest the person for a more serious offense such as Criminal Mischief (C.R.S. 18-4-501), or possibly Second or First Degree Trespassing (C.R.S. 18-4-503, 502).
Trespassing allegations should be taken seriously. Even minor offenses may have undesirable consequences in a market where many low paying jobs require background checks. If you are charged with any crime, I urge you to be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.