Trespassing is more common than you think. That is because it is a crime that many people do not fully understand. Trespassing is a very overlooked crime that can be committed in various ways. For instance, trespassing charges usually occur after someone has been “banned” from an establishment. In that scenario, a classic example of trespassing would be returning to an establishment such as a club, restaurant, or bar after being asked to leave or not return. Most people do not fully understand the crime of trespassing or how being charged with trespassing can affect their lives. Therefore, you should contact an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney to help if you have been charged with trespassing. Attorney David Ellison is an experienced Trespassing Lawyer with years of criminal defense experience. If you contact the Law Office of David Ellison, he will use these experiences to help you fight the allegations against you.
WHAT IS TRESPASSING?
The law defining trespassing reads, “every person who willfully trespasses or, having no legitimate purpose for his or her presence, remains upon the land of another or upon the premises or curtilage of the domicile of any person legally entitled to the possession of that domicile, after having been forbidden to do so by the owner of the land or the owner's duly authorized agent or a person legally entitled to the possession of the premises, shall be punished.” Rhode Island General Laws 11-44-26.
In plain terms, that means entering and/or refusing to leave another person's property without a legitimate reason after that other person told you to leave or not enter the land.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF TRESPASSING?
- The owner of the property made it known that they did not want people on their property or asked you to leave
- You entered the property or refused to leave the property, and
- You did so willingly
WHAT IS PROPERTY?
Property can mean many things. However, in most scenarios, property most likely means land or a building that does not belong to you.
HOW CAN SOMEONE “MAKE IT KNOWN THAT THEY DO NOT WANT PEOPLE ON THEIR PROPERTY?”
A classic example of this would be a “NO TRESPASS” sign posted near the entrance of the land or building. Another frequent example of this could be if you have personal interactions with someone, and through those interactions, they told you they did not want you on their property. Another could be if the police serve you with a no trespass notice.
WHAT IF THEY INVITED ME TO THEIR HOME BUT LATER ASKED ME TO LEAVE?
This is another classic example of trespassing. When you were invited to that person's home, they consented to you being in their home. Thus, you can view that invitation as their consent. Consent, like an invitation, can be rescinded at any moment. Therefore, despite that person inviting you to their home and consenting to you being there, the minute that person asks you to leave, refusing to do so may result in a criminal charge levied against you. This is because the minute that person asked you to leave, they rescinded that invitation, and you are therefore on their property without their consent.
WHAT ARE THE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR TRESPASSING?
If you are found guilty of trespassing, you may:
- Be fined up to $1,000
- Imprisoned for up to one year, or
- Both a fine and imprisonment.
Please note that these penalties are for trespassing. Domestic trespassing is a similar crime but differs because of your relationship with the person whose property you trespassed. Therefore, trespassing and domestic trespassing have different penalties. For those penalties, see our Domestic Violence page.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH TRESPASSING?
As mentioned above, trespassing is a very common crime that is not fully understood. Due to that lack of understanding, many people either do not take a trespassing charge seriously or believe that they will experience no harm as a result of a trespassing criminal charge. That is not accurate because trespassing is a crime with criminal penalties. Therefore, even if you feel you did nothing wrong, you should get legal assistance. Thus, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney like Attorney David Ellison. Once you have contacted Attorney David Ellison, he can look at the facts of your case and come up with the best strategy for you. Therefore, the best thing you can do is contact the Law Office of David Ellison for legal representation today at (401)-230-5520.