Although being charged with a property crime of trespassing may seem like a trivial offense, property crimes like trespassing can have significant legal consequences. If you are charged with trespassing in Massachusetts, it is important to hire an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer like Attorney David Ellison to help you with your case.
What Are the Penalties for Trespassing?
The penalties if convicted of trespassing in Massachusetts are as follows:
- up to 30 days in jail
- a fine of up to $100
- both imprisonment and fine
- a potential criminal record
What are the Elements to Trespassing in Massachusetts?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be found guilty of trespassing.
- The defendant entered or remained (in a dwelling house) (in a building) (on a boat) (on improved or enclosed land) of another. AND
- The defendant was forbidden to enter or remain there by the person who has lawful control of the premises, whether directly or by posted notice.
The first element of trespassing is satisfied by proof that the defendant either entered on the premises without permission, or failed to leave after being requested to do so.
What is the Law for Trespassing in Massachusetts?
Trespassing is considered a property crime in Massachusetts, and the criminal statute prohibiting trespass has been codified in Massachusetts General Laws c 266 § 120, which states the following:
“Whoever, without right enters or remains in or upon the dwelling house, buildings, boats or improved or enclosed land, wharf, or pier of another, or enters or remains in a school bus, as defined in section 1 of chapter 90, after having been forbidden so to do by the person who has lawful control of said premises, whether directly or by notice posted thereon, or in violation of a court order pursuant to section thirty-four B of chapter two hundred and eight or section three or four of chapter two hundred and nine A, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days or both such fine and imprisonment. Proof that a court has given notice of such a court order to the alleged offender shall be prima facie evidence that the notice requirement of this section has been met. A person who is found committing such trespass may be arrested by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or police officer and kept in custody in a convenient place, not more than twenty-four hours, Sunday excepted, until a complaint can be made against him for the offence, and he be taken upon a warrant issued upon such complaint.
This section shall not apply to tenants or occupants of residential premises who, having rightfully entered said premises at the commencement of the tenancy or occupancy, remain therein after such tenancy or occupancy has been or is alleged to have been terminated. The owner or landlord of said premises may recover possession thereof only through appropriate civil proceedings.”
What are Some Laws for Trespassing in Massachusetts?
Evidence supporting an inference that the property did not belong to the defendant is sufficient to establish that the property belonged to another. Commonwealth v. Averill, 12 Mass. App. Ct. 260, 263 (1981).
“A belief on the part of the person entering upon land not in his control that the land is his” is still an entry without right. Fitzgerald v. Lewis, 164 Mass. 495, 501 (1895).
Trespass is not a lesser included offense of breaking and entering. Commonwealth v. Vinnicombe, 28 Mass. App. Ct. 934, 935 (1990).
Under some circumstances, a person may be privileged to enter onto another's property to determine whether the person in control wishes to deal with him, and for passage off upon receiving a negative answer. See Commonwealth v. Hood, 389 Mass. 581, 589-590 (1983); Commonwealth v. Krasner, 360 Mass. 848, 848 (1971) (such implied license may extend to some parts of property but not others); Richardson, 313 Mass. at 639-40.
If you are charged with trespassing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to help you with your charges today. Contact Attorney David Ellison for a Massachusetts trespassing lawyer today at 401-230-5520.