Criminal trespass is different from civil trespass, usually involving a landlord-tenant situation where a tenant defaults on rent but remains in a residence. There are many types of criminal trespass that are usually charged as misdemeanors, but the class increases depending on a variety of circumstances, including where and how the trespass allegedly took place. Under certain circumstances, criminal trespass will be charged as a felony.
If you have been arrested and charged for criminal trespass, you will be facing a prosecutor. The prosecutor’s job is to get convictions for the state, so it is likely that the prosecutor will attempt to get the harshest sentence possible. Therefore, to protect your rights, it is imperative that you get help from a skilled and experienced defense attorney.
The seasoned Illinois criminal trespass attorneys at Wolfe & Stec have extensive experience in defending clients charged with criminal trespass, as well as other criminal charges. Not only do we know the courts, the judges and the system, we are also aware that there are defenses that may lead to a dismissal of your charges or result in a lesser penalty.
Our team-oriented approach to handling criminal cases serves our clients well. We are aggressive in the courtroom, defending our clients’ rights and ensuring they have experienced lawyers on their side. In addition, we offer a free consultation to examine the specifics of your case and determine what we can do to help fight for your rights and freedom.
With office locations in both Woodridge and Chicago, we represent clients throughout the entire Chicagoland area.
In Illinois, there is a distinction between criminal trespassing and civil trespassing. There are several types of criminal trespass. Common examples include:
The Illinois Criminal Code of 1961, Article 21, defines the different types of criminal trespass and lists areas of trespass. Generally, you can be arrested for trespass if you knowingly and without authority or permission from the owner trespass in areas that include:
Illinois Statutes Chapter 720, Article 21, Section 2, defines criminal trespass to vehicles. According to this statute, “[a] person commits criminal trespass to vehicles when he or she knowingly and without authority enters any part of or operates any vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or snowmobile.” This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
Article 21, section 3, defines criminal trespass to real property. Criminal trespass to real property can occur in various ways, including:
Criminal trespass to land generally does not apply to buildings open to the public. It is usually considered a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months and a maximum fine of $1,500. However, it can be a Class A misdemeanor under circumstances such as entering or remaining on agricultural property, fields, barns and orchards with a motor vehicle.
If the property is supported or partially supported by government funds and someone knowingly damages the property, it is a felony. It is a Class 4 felony when the damage to property is $500 or less, and the class keeps increasing until it becomes a Class 1 felony when the damage to property exceeds $100,000. If the damage exceeds $10,000, there will be a fine equal to the value of the damages to the property.
If the trespass is on state-supported land or buildings, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
Possessing or storing weapons in buildings or on land supported with public funds without prior written permission from the chief security officer is a Class A misdemeanor.
Entering or remaining in any restricted area or restricted landing area in connection with an airport facility after receiving notice from the airport authority that such entry is forbidden is a Class 4 felony. Doing so while in possession of a weapon, replica of a weapon or ammunition, after receiving notice that this is forbidden, is a Class 3 felony. Doing so by presenting false documents or falsely representing identity is a Class A misdemeanor. Doing so while dressed in the uniform of, improperly wearing the identification of, presenting false credentials of, or otherwise physically impersonating an airman, employee of an airline, employee of an airport, or contractor at an airport is a Class 4 felony.
Criminal trespass to a nuclear facility occurs if a person knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains within or on the grounds of a nuclear facility after receiving notice that entry is forbidden, or is given notice to depart from the facility, or presents false documents or falsely represents their identity. Criminal trespass to a nuclear facility is a Class 4 felony.
Criminal trespass to a place of public amusement, such as a stadium or theater, occurs if someone knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains there after having received notice that the general public is restricted from access, or presents false documents or falsely represents their identity, or has been personally notified that entrance is prohibited. This is a Class 4 felony with a fine of not less than $1,000, plus public or community service.
If you are afraid that there is no way you can “beat” a criminal trespass charge, don’t worry. There are several defenses available against trespass charges. An experienced trespassing defense lawyer will analyze the state’s case against you in order to determine if any of the defenses apply to your case.
For example, the law does not prohibit a person from entering a building or upon the land of another for emergency purposes, or where the individual is or is reasonably believed to be in imminent danger of serious bodily harm, or when the property is or is reasonably believed to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction. Prosecutors must show the defendants had notice that entry is forbidden or that a printed or written notice warning against trespassing was clearly posted.
People who are living on land with permission from the owner, people who beautify unoccupied and abandoned residential and industrial properties and people who enter for emergency purposes will not generally be criminally responsible for trespass.
Even a misdemeanor conviction can have a devastating effect on your life and livelihood. Anyone charged with criminal trespass should get sound advice from a defense attorney who can reduce or eliminate charges and punishments.
The experienced and compassionate Woodridge trespass defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. Whether your criminal law case is seemingly straightforward or highly complicated, we can help.
We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, the evidence available and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain what the charges are against you and develop an effective defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Don’t delay — contact us for help today at 630-305-0222. Wolfe & Stec trespass defense attorneys in Woodridge represent clients in DuPage County and the greater Chicagoland area. Your initial consultation will be free.
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