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.
You commit a criminal trespass whenever you enter onto property, which you know you do not have the right to enter. This 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 have to receive a verbal warning that the property is off-limits.
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. If the prosecutor fails to prove any of these required elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you are not guilty. 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 you are told to leave but refuse, you could be charged with trespassing. If you are attending a rally or protest on public property and you disobey a lawful order to disperse or leave the area, this would be considered trespassing as well.
“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 to be “no big deal,” the consequences can be much more extensive than they may realize.
“Is it worth the money to hire a criminal defense attorney for trespassing charges?”
Whether it is “worth” investing in a lawyer is a very personal question. If you are concerned with your liberty, livelihood, and reputation, it is probably worth looking into the possibility of hiring a lawyer and requesting a free consultation. A criminal conviction may not be a concern to 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, other consequences must be considered. 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 a good lawyer 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 important.
You should never just admit to trespassing or voluntarily pay the fine. Prosecutors, police, and judges often try to manipulate defendants charged with trespassing into believing the charge is not serious, and they should just plead guilty or pay the ticket. Do not be tricked or railroaded into an unnecessary conviction. When trespassing tickets are challenged in court by a savvy defense lawyer, prosecutors will consider dismissing the misdemeanor charge or reducing it to a civil infraction. Every charge should be taken to 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, he or she 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, he or she may have to post a bond to get released. If a ticket is issued, the person will need to turn themselves into a police station or a court to be arraigned.
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. We have an unparalleled track record of success in keeping clients out of jail and advocating for dismissals 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 is going to provide the best possible defense.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.