Seven Ways To Successfully Defend Against A Criminal Trespassing Charge

If you've been charged with criminal trespassing, you've been accused of entering another person's property without consent or staying after you've been asked to leave. Property can include areas such as land or a house, car, or boat.

Specifics can vary according to the laws in your particular state, but in general, the following are seven common ways to help defend against a charge of criminal trespassing:

1. You complied with the owner's wishes.

Perhaps you were on the other person's property and were asked to leave. If you did so immediately, this can serve as a good defense.

2. You thought you had permission.

You may have mistakenly believed you had permission to be on the property. This could result from a confusion over who actually owns the property. Maybe one person gave you permission to fish at a pond and you thought he owns the property, but he doesn't. Or perhaps the person who gave you permission was a minor and thus was unable to legally grant it, but you had no reasonable way to know that he or she was underage.

3. You believed the property was abandoned.

This definition can be fairly strict. You need to have believed that the owner had completely withdrawn from the property or building with the intention of relinquishing ownership and without transferring ownership to someone else.

4. You weren't asked to leave.

You may have not been asked to leave the property. Or you may have received confusing instructions that you didn't understand as a request to leave.

5. You believed that you would have had permission.

Your belief must be reasonable, however. For example, perhaps a friend has allowed you to use his pool in the past when he was out of town, so you may have had a reasonable expectation that you could do so again under similar circumstances.

6. You were granted an easement.

An easement gives you the legal right to use someone else's property in a particular way. Perhaps your neighbor has given you the right to have a driveway on his property because it's easier for you to get to the road that way. But after an argument, he accuses you of trespassing. As long as you were staying within the scope of the agreement, an easement is a good defense.

7. It was necessary for you to do so.

Perhaps it was necessary for you to use someone else's property without permission. Necessary doesn't just mean more convenient – it means you had no other reasonable choice. For example, if you were being chased by a snarling dog and ran into your neighbor's outdoor building, you'd be within your rights. But as soon as it was safe to do so, you had an obligation to leave the premises.

If you've been accused of criminal trespassing, contact an attorney with criminal defense experience. He or she may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed and can advise you on the best course of action. For more information about your options, consult with a firm such as Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices.