Criminal Trespass Attorney in Newton, Kansas
If you’ve been arrested for criminal trespassing, you may be confused about what these charges mean or why you were even arrested in the first place. Many times, people don’t even know they’ve entered land or property that’s protected under these laws, and because of this, it’s not often clear what the best line of defense should be. However, these charges should be taken seriously to avoid any unwanted consequences or penalties. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.
If you need assistance with this or any other criminal charge, call me today at CornerStone Law, LLC. I’m located in Newton, Kansas, and serve clients throughout the area, including Wichita, Hutchinson, El Dorado, McPherson, and Hillsboro.
What Is Criminal Trespass?
Kansas state law has a broad and complex definition of criminal trespass, but essentially, it means that you’ve entered or stayed on someone else’s property without their permission. And, though we typically think of trespassing on someone’s home or land, the law also includes vehicles, bodies of water, aircraft, and watercraft.
Once you have trespassed, you also must meet one of three criteria to be legally charged. The first possibility is that you remained on the property after you were told by the owner (or someone representing the owner) that you needed to leave. The second possibility is that there were conspicuous “no trespassing” signs posted (or fences and locked gates), and you entered the property regardless. Lastly, you may have entered a property in violation of an existing restraining order.
The penalties for criminal trespass will depend on the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, the circumstances of the situation, whether there were any other concurrent charges, and whether you have any prior convictions, especially related to trespassing. Additionally, there are unique circumstances for trespassing charges that involve healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, or land surveyors that your attorney can advise you on.
Essentially, the law indicates that such charges will likely be classified as a misdemeanor. As such, it may bring with it a minimum jail time of 48 hours, but a judge may also decide to assign probation instead of or in conjunction with it. Judges may also decide to reduce these penalties if you present a strong defense.
When you work with your criminal defense attorney, they’ll listen to your side of the story and examine the available evidence, including viewing photos and police reports as well as speaking with or reviewing witness statements. After this, they’ll be able to build a defense on your behalf that’s specific to your needs and your situation.
The most common defense for a trespassing charge is that you didn’t actually know you were trespassing. If it can be proven that there were no signs or other structures alerting you that you were on private property or no one told you you couldn’t be there, it’s likely that your charges can be dismissed. You also may have actually believed you had received consent to be on the property.
Another possible defense could be that you were retrieving your own property. For example, say you were flying a kite that the wind pushed into a neighboring property and you went to get it. Or, in some extreme cases, you may have had no choice but to trespass if you were fleeing for your safety.
It’s important to remember that none of these defenses will be 100% foolproof. It's always in your best interest to work with a lawyer who can present your case to a judge and give you the best chance of receiving a reduced sentence or having the charges dismissed entirely.
Criminal Trespass Attorney Serving Newton, Kansas
If you’re anywhere in the Newton, Kansas, area including Wichita, Hutchinson, El Dorado, McPherson, or Hillsboro, and would like legal advice about a recent trespassing change, call me today. At CornerStone Law, LLC, I bring with me over 45 years of experience, and I’ll represent your best interests and your rights.