Being out in nature is one of a few capabilities that no one should be prevented. Exploring, hiking and walking through open air is a remarkable adventure. For some, the path may be unknown and every step gives them the potential for new explorations. Within some areas of land or even rural or bigger properties, the expanse of space is so large, it is hard to know where one property ends and another begins. This is even more of a possibility when there is no fencing or signage preventing trespassers. How are you to respond when simply being present in an unmarked and unfenced open field led to an owner shooting at you and charging you with trespassing?
Trespassing is defined as an individual entering property owned by another person without receiving permission from the owner of the property. There are two types of classifications of trespassing: civil and criminal. Like any case and any crime, the details are the most important thing. The details and events surrounding the trespassing are what categorize it.
Civil or Criminal Trespassing
The differentiation between civil and criminal trespassing depends on the damage that is caused to the property and property owner.
- Civil trespass is generally handled by having the offender pay a fine and complete restitution.
- Criminal trespass has a steeper penalty and may illicit more consequences depending on the level of damage and/or physical harm.
Knowingly or Unknowingly Entering
There is a distinction between being charged with trespassing while you knowingly were entering another person's residence or property or were genuinely unknowingly crossing their boundaries. Willfully entering property where you are not invited changes the circumstances of the case. In this case, the individual was on property that was not fenced or had signage posted. It was not general knowledge that it was privately owned. Criminal trespass only occurs when there is knowledge that the behavior performed was illegal.
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you get the best outcome possible for your case given your unique circumstances. Choose the skilled and experienced attorney of Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C. today.