I was charged under the Denver Revised Municipal Code 38-5 which prohibits bringing alcohol into a certain list of venues. The venue I was at (Coors Field) is not on this list. I presented this as my defense at my Arraignment and the city attorney has entered a Motion to Dismiss the charge under DRMC 38-5 (Alcohol prohibited in certain facilities) and add a new charge under Colorado Revised Statute 18-9-123(1)a(I) (Bringing alcohol into the Major League Baseball Stadium). I’ve been researching my options and have found a possible defense under CRS 18-1-504. Specifically, I’m looking at (2)a which states:“(2) A person is not relieved of criminal liability for conduct because he engages in that conduct under a mistaken belief that it does not, as a matter of law, constitute an offense, unless the conduct is permitted by one or more of the following:(a) A statute or ordinance binding in this state;”DRMC 38-5 does not explicitly permit bringing alcohol into Coors Field, but by specifically listing which venues it’s illegal to bring alcohol into—and since Coors Field is not on that list—I’m thinking that it creates an implied permission.Do I have a valid defense in claiming that I believed my actions were legal under DRMC 38-5, and if so, how would I assert that defense?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Colorado
Only what I've stated in my question.
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I'm sorry to hear that. The key here is the hierarchy of the various codes. State code will control over local, but local will not control over state. The defense that you cited would be a defense if the ordinance explicitly (rather than implicitly) stated that you could bring alcohol into Coors Field or a MLB stadium. But silence is not explicit authorization. Rather, it's not illegal or unauthorized under local regulations, but rather state law. There are many things that are illegal under state law that are not addressed in local regulations and ordinances, and it can't be argued that since they did not include X, even though X is illegal under state law, they must be permitting it. The defense, "(2) A person is not relieved of criminal liability for conduct because he engages in that conduct under a mistaken belief that it does not, as a matter of law, constitute an offense, unless the conduct is permitted by one or more of the following:(a) A statute or ordinance binding in this state;" could only be read as to require explicit permission for the action. Silence does not imply permission. Silence would mean that you can't be prosecuted under the DRMC ordinance, but you could still be prosecuted under the state code.
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but that is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, and good luck to you!
Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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