Chicago Trespassing Lawyer
Trespassing is a property crime that involves a person entering someone else’s property without permission. However, it’s much more complicated than it seems. If you are charged with this property crime, understand your rights by contacting a Chicago trespassing lawyer at O’Meara Law. Call us at 312-909-0706 today.
What is Trespassing?
Under Illinois law, criminal trespassing on real property involves knowingly entering property without permission of the property owner or manager or remaining within a building after being told to leave. Examples of places where trespassing may occur include:
- Private homes
- Empty buildings
- Private land
- Fields and fenced areas
- Schools and other government owned properties
In order to be convicted of trespassing, the prosecution must prove intent. You must have known that trespassing was not allowed, but entered the property anyway. This also means that you could enter the property without permission and not be guilty of trespassing if you were unaware that you were on someone else’s property or there were no obvious property markings.
It is often inferred that trespassing is not allowed in private homes. If a property is fenced or has “no trespassing” signs, then it can be assumed that uninvited guests are not welcome.
Young children are not typically convicted of trespassing, since they may not be able to recognize these signs or assume that a fence was put in place to keep them out. However, older children may be convicted of trespassing if they should have known they were not permitted on property or in a building. In addition, if you were doing no harm and left immediately when asked to leave, you may not be convicted of trespassing.
Defending Against Trespassing Charges
If you can prove that the property owner gave consent for you to be on the property, then you may avoid a conviction. In trespassing cases, two types of consent apply:
- Implied consent may be inferred based on your previous interactions with the land owner or the circumstances. For example, if you saw an injured child or animal on the property, you would most likely enter the property to give assistance, even though the property owner may not have been present and had not given you permission to do so.
- Express consent refers to the permission given verbally or in writing. This is actual proof from the land owner showing that you can enter the property.
You may be convicted of trespassing if you are allowed to enter a property but then refuse to leave when asked. For example, bars and clubs may instruct you to leave when they are closing for the night. If you attend a party and refuse to go home after it has ended, you may be charged with trespassing.
Depending on intent and the type of property that was trespassed upon, a trespassing crime in Illinois can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. A Class A misdemeanor is just below a felony in severity and is classified as the most serious misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
A Class 4 felony is the lowest level of felony in Illinois. However, the punishment can be quite serious. If you are convicted of a Class 4 felony, you could face up to three years in prison as well as a fine of $25,000.
If this was your first trespassing offense, you may be able to serve probation in lieu of jail time. This will depend on the circumstances of the case, and your attorney’s skill in negotiating with the prosecution or presenting your case at trial.
Getting Legal Help for Trespassing Charges
If you’re facing trespassing charges in Illinois, it’s important to exercise your legal rights. You could face jail time, probation, and fines. On top of that, the charge will stay on your criminal record, making it difficult to secure employment. The good news is that a Chicago trespassing lawyer can help reduce your penalties and allow you to quickly move on with your life.
O’Meara Law can defend your case. Attorney Michael O’Meara has decades of experience in criminal defense, including property crimes. He can advise you of the next steps and protect your legal rights. If you’re facing trespassing charges, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706.