Defense Attorneys for Trespassing Charges in Michigan
Trespassing is a criminal offense, and a conviction can have serious consequences. Underestimating the possible impact of a conviction could be a regrettable mistake. A good defense lawyer may be able to keep a conviction off your record.
What is trespassing?
You commit a criminal trespass whenever you enter onto property, knowing you do not have the right to enter. Trespass would also include remaining on the property after learning you do not have the right to be there. The misdemeanor offense of trespassing can occur on both private and public property. It is a myth that you must receive a verbal warning that the property is off-limits. A skilled, experienced defense attorney for trespassing can negotiate for reduced charges or dismissal of all charges.
Defenses Available in Trespassing Cases
To be convicted of trespassing, the government would have to prove (1) that you were on the property of another, (2) that you knew you were not supposed to be on the property (or reasonably should have known), and (3) that there was adequate warning that you should not have been at that location. You are not guilty if the prosecutor fails to prove any of these required elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence needed for a conviction is more complicated than most people think, and there are several defenses available to trespassing charges, such as:
- constitutional right (such as the First Amendment)
- ownership or right
- mistaken identity
- insufficient evidence
“Can I be charged with trespassing if I lawfully entered onto private or public property?”
Even if you enter a structure or property with the owner’s permission, you can still commit trespassing if the owner orders you to leave but you choose to remain. For example, if you are a house guest at a party and are told to leave but refuse, you could be charged with trespassing. This would be considered trespassing if you attend a rally or protest on public property and disobey a lawful order to disperse or leave the area. Many defenses are available for trespassing charges, and savvy defense attorneys for trespassing can review your case and determine if one applies.
“What are the penalties for trespassing?”
For the common misdemeanor of trespassing, you could face up to 30 days in jail, up to 2 years of reporting probation, fines, costs, probation supervision fees, restitution, community service, therapy, court-ordered abstinence from alcohol and marijuana, and loss of firearm rights, limitations on your right to travel, and more. Even though many people consider trespassing “no big deal,” the direct and collateral consequences can be much more extensive than they may realize. Your best hope for getting charges dismissed or a lenient sentence is with qualified defense attorneys for trespassing.
“Is hiring a criminal defense attorney for trespassing charges worth the money?”
Whether it is “worth” investing in a lawyer is a very personal decision. If you are concerned with your liberty, livelihood, and reputation, it is probably worth looking into hiring a lawyer and requesting a free consultation. A criminal conviction may not concern some people; however, that is not the case with most people charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. Although the fine may not be high for trespassing, up to $50.00, an accused person must consider other consequences. In addition to the fine, the court may order probation supervision fees, costs, and restitution. A criminal conviction can complicate obtaining employment or advancing in a career. Some judges impose jail time for trespassing, even when it seems like an overreaction to the situation. For some, it may not be worth the investment to hire defense attorneys for trespassing to protect them in court; however, there is no reason for failing to at least talk with an attorney and get additional information that may turn out to be helpful. There are great lawyers, like those with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., who charge fair, affordable legal fees and provide a top-level defense.
You should never admit to trespassing or voluntarily pay the fine without fighting to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Prosecutors, police, and judges often try to manipulate defendants charged with trespassing into believing the charge is not serious and that they should simply plead guilty or pay the ticket. Do not be tricked or railroaded into an unnecessary conviction. When a savvy defense lawyer challenges trespassing tickets in court, prosecutors will consider dismissing the misdemeanor charge or reducing it to a civil infraction. Every criminal allegation should be challenged in court!
“Is receiving a ticket for trespassing less serious than being arrested?”
A police officer can decide whether to charge someone with trespassing by issuing a ticket or summons, or they can make an arrest. Typically, if the officer is not a personal witness to the offense, they will give the suspect a misdemeanor ticket. If the officer is a witness, it is more likely that there will be an arrest. Regardless of whether there is a misdemeanor ticket for trespassing or an arrest, the charge and possible penalties are the same. If someone is arrested, they may have to post a bond to get released. If a ticket is issued, the person must turn themselves into a police station or a court to be arraigned. A person accused of trespassing or any crime should never turn themselves in without an experienced defense attorney.
Defense Lawyers for Trespassing Charges in Michigan
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience defending clients with trespassing charges in Ingham, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Livingston Counties, as well as throughout Southeastern Michigan. Our attorneys have an unparalleled track record of success in keeping clients out of jail and advocating for the dismissal of all charges. We will provide an aggressive, effective, and tenacious defense for your trespassing charge. Do not be sold out by a bargain lawyer. When you want to protect your reputation and record, you need someone who will provide the best possible defense at an affordable and fair rate.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.