Illinois Criminal Trespassing Laws and Punishments

No trespassing sign

The charge of criminal trespass is taken seriously in Illinois, with punishments that could include fines and even imprisonment. There are many types of criminal trespass which are usually charged as misdemeanors, but the class increases depending on 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, prosecutors will attempt to get the harshest sentence possible, so it’s important to get help from a skilled and experienced defense attorney. The seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience in defending clients charged with Criminal Trespass, as well as other criminal charges. We know the courts, the judges, and the system and are aware that there are defenses that may lead to a dismissal of your charges or result in a lesser penalty. We take a team-oriented approach to handling criminal cases and are aggressive in the courtroom. We offer a free consultation to examine the issues in your case and determine what we can do to help fight for your rights and freedom.

With office locations in Woodridge and Chicago, we represent clients throughout the entire Chicagoland area. Call our DuPage County criminal trespass lawyers today at 630-305-0222 to schedule a free initial consultation.

What Illinois Laws Say

The Illinois Criminal Code of 1961, Article 21, deals with criminal trespass and lists areas of trespass. You can be arrested for trespass if you knowingly and without authority or permission from the owner trespass in areas that include:

    1. Criminal trespass to vehicles.
      Knowingly and without authority entering any part of or operating any vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or snowmobile is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
    2. Criminal trespass to real property, also called trespass to land.
      This can occur in various ways, including:

      • entering or remaining in a building without permission,
      • entering or remaining on the land of another after having notice to leave, or
      • falsely representing yourself or presenting false documents in order to obtain permission to enter or remain on the land.

Criminal Trespass to land 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.

      1. Criminal Damage to Government-Supported Property.
        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.
      2. Criminal Trespass to State-Supported Land.
        If the trespass is on state-supported land or buildings, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
      3. Unauthorized Possession or Storage of Weapons.
        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.
      4. Criminal trespass to restricted areas and restricted landing areas at airports. 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.
      5. Criminal trespass to a nuclear facility.
        This 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.
      6. Criminal trespass to a place of public amusement.
        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 notified personally that entrance is prohibited. This is a Class 4 felony with a fine of not less than $1,000, plus public or community service.

Defenses to Criminal Trespass

There are several defenses available against trespass charges. 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 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.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

Since 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 criminal trespass defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. 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, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and come up with 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. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois, and the greater Chicagoland area. Your initial consultation will be free.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]