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2 defenses against a criminal trespass charge

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Every property owner has the right to enjoy their property in a manner that does not otherwise break the law. This, in part, includes being able to restrict unauthorized entry into their property. 

Criminal trespass occurs when you enter or stay on someone’s property without their permission or consent. You can also be charged with trespass if you remain on a property after your permission to stay has been withdrawn or expired.  Like when asked to leave a bar, or when you try and go back in a bar you have been asked to leave. 

This last one happens on a pretty regular basis in the Power and Light District.

If you are charged with criminal trespass in Missouri, you need to understand and explore your defense options. With the right defense strategy, you can have your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Here are two defense options you can consider when charged with criminal trespass

You had permission to enter the property

Even if there is a visible sign that bans entry into the property, the property owner can still permit you to enter and stay on the property. The key to arguing consent in a trespass charge, however, lies in presenting clear evidence that the property owner allowed you to enter their property despite the existence of a “No Trespassing” sign. 

You acted in the interest of the public’s safety

This defense is mostly applicable in emergency situations. To cite public necessity as a defense for trespass, there must be a clear and immediate need to trespass. Additionally, you must prove that you acted in good faith to help protect the public’s interests during the emergency in question. An example would be a situation where you break into your neighbor’s apartment when there is a fire outbreak in their home. In this case, you may argue that you acted to stop the fire from spreading into the other units. 

Being charged with trespass is a big deal. Knowing your legal options can help you safeguard your rights and defend yourself when charged with trespass in Missouri.