Criminal trespass is a commonly occurring criminal offense in Ohio. Every day, there are hundreds of individuals in Ohio who are charged with criminal trespass. A criminal trespass conviction carries serious penalties such as extensive jail time and hefty fines and fees, in addition to other negative consequences that will impact all other areas of your life.
Criminal Trespass is defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2911.21) as anyone who engages in any of the following without permission:
- Knowingly enters or remains on the land of another person;
- Knowingly enters or remains on the land of another person that is restricted to certain people or for certain purposes, and chooses to ignore these restrictions;
- Recklessly enters or remains on the land of another person, as to which notice prohibiting unauthorized access is given to the offender, or is posted in some way that is visible to the offender that is designed restrict access;
- While on the land of another person, negligently failing or refusing to leave after being notified through visible signs or being told to do so by the owner or occupant.
It is important to be aware of the fact that if the land involved in the offense was owned by a public agency this is not a defense that can be used against criminal trespass charges. Additionally, if the offender gained permission to enter the land through means of deception this cannot be used as a defense.
For example, if you have been instructed by your neighbor to stay off of his property and you ignore this warning and decide to step on to his land, you will commit criminal trespass. As long as there is some kind of sign indicating ‘no trespassing’ this is sufficient to indicate that trespassing is not permitted and anyone who does so will be charged with criminal trespass.a
Criminal Trespass Penalties
If you are convicted of criminal trespass in Ohio, you will be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This entails a maximum of 30 days in jail and fines up to $250.
If you are convicted of criminal trespass and the offense involves a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle or all-purpose vehicle, then the court is permitted to impose a fine up to two times the standard amount that is charged for violating this offense.
If you have previously been convicted or plead guilty to two or more criminal trespass violations in Ohio, and the offense involves a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle or all-purpose vehicle, the court is permitted to impound the vehicle’s certificate of registration for at least 60 days.
Possible Defenses to Criminal Trespass
Although every case of criminal trespass is different depending on the particular facts and circumstances, there might be a possible defense that can be raised. The following are common examples of defenses that might be applicable to your case:
- Your conduct as the offender did not actually substantially obstruct the owner’s property;
- The property in question was actually open for public use;
- You obeyed instructions of leaving the property upon being told to do so.
Other Consequences of Criminal Trespass
In addition to jail time and potentially hefty fines, a criminal trespass conviction will have a negative impact on other areas of your life as well. You may face difficulty keeping or finding a job, furthering your education, difficulty financially, maintaining professional licensures and keeping custody of your children.
Every day in Ohio, there are many individuals who are charged with criminal trespass. If you are facing criminal trespass charges, it is imperative that you immediately contact the Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys. A criminal trespass charge can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, and you do not have to go through it alone. Although every case is different, it is crucial that you obtain an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate attorney as soon as possible who will fight vigorously for your legal rights and best interest. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your options will be regarding your sentence. The Cincinnati criminal defense team has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with criminal trespass. Their knowledge, experience, and compassion for your case will help you receive the justice you deserve.