Defacing Property in Colorado

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Statute for 18 – 4 – 509 – Defacing Property

StatuteHere is the charge you are facing:

18-4-509. Defacing property – definitions

(1) (a) Any person who destroys, defaces, removes, or damages any historical monument commits the crime of defacing property.

(b) Any person who defaces or causes, aids in, or permits the defacing of public or private property without the consent of the owner by any method of defacement, including but not limited to painting, drawing, writing, or otherwise marring the surface of the property by use of paint, spray paint, ink, or any other substance or object, commits the crime of defacing property.

(c) (I) Any person who, with regard to a cave that is public property or the property of another, knowingly performs any of the following acts without the consent of the owner commits the crime of defacing property:

(A) Breaking or damaging any lock, fastening, door, or structure designed to enclose or protect any such cave;

(B) Defacing, damaging, or breaking from any part of such cave any cave resource; or

(C) Removing from such cave any cave resource.

(II) For purposes of this section:

(A) “Cave” means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, lava tube, or system of interconnected passages that occurs beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge, including any cave resource therein, but not including any mine, tunnel, aqueduct, or other artificial excavation, and that is large enough to permit an individual to enter, regardless of whether the entrance is naturally formed or has been artificially created or enlarged. “Cave” includes any natural pit, sinkhole, or other feature that is an extension of the entrance.

(B) “Cave resource” includes any material or substance occurring naturally in caves, such as animal life, plant life, paleontological deposits, sediments, minerals, speleogens, and speleothems.

(B.5) “Juvenile” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 19-1-103 (68), C.R.S.

(C) “Speleogen” means relief features on the walls, ceiling, or floor of any cave that are part of the surrounding rock, including, but not limited to, anastomoses, scallops, meander niches, petromorphs, and rock pendants in solution caves and similar features unique to volcanic caves.

(D) “Speleothem” means any natural mineral formation or deposit occurring in a cave, including, but not limited to, any stalactite, stalagmite, helictite, cave flower, flowstone, concretion, drapery, rimstone, or formation of clay or mud.

(2) (a) (I) Defacing property is a class 2 misdemeanor; except that:

(A) A second or subsequent conviction for the offense of defacing property is a class 1 misdemeanor and the court shall impose a mandatory minimum fine of seven hundred fifty dollars upon conviction; and

(B) If a person violates paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section twice or more within a period of six months, the damages caused by two or more of the violations may be aggregated and charged in a single count, in which event the violations so aggregated and charged shall constitute a single offense, and, if the aggregate damages are five hundred dollars or more, it is a class 1 misdemeanor and the court shall impose a mandatory minimum fine of seven hundred fifty dollars upon conviction.

(II) In sentencing a person who violates this section, the court has discretion to impose alternatives in sentencing as described in part 1 of article 1.3 of this title, including but not limited to restorative justice practices, as defined in section 18-1-901 (3) (o.5), or in the case of a juvenile offender, to impose restorative justice, as defined in section 19-1-103 (94.1), C.R.S.

(III) The court may suspend all or part of the mandatory minimum fine associated with a conviction under this section upon the offender’s successful completion of any sentence alternative imposed by the court pursuant to subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a).

(IV) Fifty percent of the fines collected pursuant to this paragraph (a) shall be credited to the highway users tax fund, created in section 43-4-201, C.R.S., and allocated and expended as specified in section 43-4-205 (5.5) (a), C.R.S., and fifty percent of the fines collected pursuant to this paragraph (a) shall be credited to the juvenile diversion cash fund created in section 19-2-303.5, C.R.S.; except that the fines collected pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section shall be credited to the Colorado travel and tourism promotion fund created in section 24-49.7-106, C.R.S.

(b) Any person convicted of defacing property pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection (1) of this section shall be ordered by the court to personally make repairs to any property damaged, or properties similarly damaged, if possible. If the property cannot be repaired, the court shall order a person convicted of defacing property to replace or compensate the owner for the damaged property but may, in the case of a violation of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, limit such compensation to two thousand five hundred dollars.

(c) Repealed.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Colorado Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Criminal Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyers look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Defacing Property

Penalties

The charge of Defacing Property, is categorized as a:

M1, for second and subsequent offense
M2

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

How to Use This Information

After you have hired a Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This involves analyzing the statute language above as well as the jury instructions (which is the set of instructions that the jury will use to understand the law). This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions will be crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor. Your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Defacing Property below. These will be adapted by your Denver CO Attorney for your case.

The elements of the crime of defacing property are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. [knowingly [destroyed] [defaced] [removed] [damaged] any historical monument.] -or- 3. [knowingly [defaced] [caused, aided in, or permitted the defacing of] any public or private property, by any means of defacement including but not limited to painting, drawing, writing or otherwise marring the surface of the property by the use of paint, spray paint, ink or any other substance or object, 4. without the consent of the owner of such property.] [defaced any cave whether public or private property by knowingly [breaking or damaging any lock, fastening, door or structure designed to enclose or protect such cave][defacing, damaging or breaking from any part of such cave any cave resource][removing from such cave any cave resource] 5. without consent of the owner] [4., 5. or 6. without the affirmative defense in instruction number .] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of defacing property. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove each of f he elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of defacing property. NOTES ON USE Delete inapplicable bracketed material. The definition of ?knowingly? should be given with this instruction.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your Colorado Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Defacing Property.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

Good Luck!

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca