Trespassing is a misdemeanor punishable by jail and up to two years of probation.

Like any criminal charge, trespassing should be taken seriously. You may not be aware of other potential consequences besides jail and probation.

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Defenses and Penalties for Trespassing Charges

If you have been charged or ticketed with trespassing, you will likely seek more information about the possible penalties and other consequences. For some, it may seem like there is no need to take a misdemeanor trespassing charge seriously. It may seem like no big deal. Being indifferent to a trespassing charge or conviction can result in unanticipated repercussions. Prosecutors prefer to spend the time and energy prosecuting more severe offenses. They might be willing to negotiate a plea agreement for reduced or dismissed charges to resolve a trespassing charge. For example, prosecutors might agree to a delayed sentence resulting in the complete dismissal of charges after a brief period of probation.

Criminal Consequences for Trespassing Charges

The most common trespassing charge is officially called “Trespass Upon Lands or Premises of Another.” The maximum penalties for trespassing charges include up to 30 days in jail and two (2) years of court-ordered and supervised probation. Probation conditions can include house arrest, limitations on travel, restricted firearm possession, drug and alcohol prohibition, mandatory education or employment, therapy, and community service.

Different trespassing charges include:

Misdemeanors – up to 90 days in jail and up to 2 years of probation

  • Willful trespass; by cutting or destroying property.
  • Willful trespassing or entering onto the improved land of another.
  • Trespass upon cranberry marshes.
  • Trespass upon huckleberry and blackberry marshes.
  • Trespass on vineyards, orchards, or gardens.
  • Trespass and injuring or destroying medicinal plants.
  • Trespass upon lands or premises of another.
  • Unlawful dumping, depositing, or placing garbage on the property of another.

Felony Trespassing Charges – Up to 4 years in prison and up to 5 years of probation.

  • Trespass upon the property of state correctional facility.
  • Entering or remaining in a “key facility” (a structure entirely enclosed by a physical barrier).

Collateral Consequences of a Trespassing Conviction

Jail and probation are direct penalties for trespassing charges that a judge might impose on a defendant convicted of trespassing in Michigan. A trespassing conviction may be entered on a person’s criminal history and could be widely and easily discoverable. Because a conviction results in a criminal record, there are indirect or collateral consequences that anyone charged with this offense must consider. Depending on a person’s circumstances, the indirect consequences can be severe.

Collateral consequences might include the following:

  • Suspension or revocation of a professional license.
  • Inability or difficulty in obtaining a nursing, medical, legal, security, or another professional license.
  • A spouse or former spouse can use a conviction as leverage in a custody dispute.
  • Inability to obtain a job or advance in a career.
  • Inability to have prior convictions expunged or removed from a criminal history.
  • Restrictions on traveling to or entering some foreign countries.
  • Difficulty in getting into a university or professional educational program.
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The Connection Between Trespassing and Civil Disobedience, Protests, and Firearms

Protests and other forms of civil disobedience, especially when firearms are involved, can result in aggressive law enforcement involvement. Under the First Amendment, American citizens have the right to free speech, including lawfully demonstrating in a public place. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to carry and possess firearms. A protester or demonstrator exercising their right to free speech while possessing a firearm is at greater risk for arrest and prosecution. In addition to a charge of Brandishing a Firearm, police frequently use trespassing charges to intimidate and bully otherwise law-abiding citizens. If your defense lawyer can persuade a prosecutor that your conduct was not illegal, you might be able to avoid the penalties for trespassing charges altogether.

Defenses to Trespassing Charges

A savvy defense lawyer can use various defenses to get a trespassing charge thrown out of court or dismissed. Defenses include lack of notice that an area is private, inadequate warning not to return, accident, mistaken identity, constitutional violation, insufficient proof, entrapment, and more. It would be an error in judgment to conclude that you have nothing to worry about if you believe you have a defense or justification. Although the American justice system may be the best in the world, it is far from perfect. People lie, manufacture evidence, misinterpret or twist conversations and statements made to police, and judges sometimes make errors in their rulings. A trespassing charge, like any criminal charge, could harm your future. The best defense to a trespassing charge is a criminal defense attorney with experience successfully defending clients with these and similar charges.

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Lawyers With Vast Experience Defending Trespassing Charges

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with trespassing cases and many other felony and misdemeanor charges. We understand the impact on a client’s life if convicted of a crime, and we will do everything possible to get all charges dismissed or get you the best resolution possible. If you want someone to fight for you and do whatever it takes to protect your constitutional rights, the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are ready, willing, and able to help you.

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.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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