Trespassing is a serious crime with some serious consequences. Trespassing is the act of unlawfully entering someone’s property or staying there without their permission. Missouri laws criminalize trespassing and persons found guilty of the offense could face civil liability and criminal charges. A conviction for trespass can carry heavy fines, taint your record, and even have you imprisoned. If you’ve been cited for any of violation, our lawyers are accessible to answer your queries and provide immediate help. So if you have any of the issue within criminal or other then criminal offenses we welcome to you too contact us for consultation.
In Missouri, trespass is classified into two degrees for penalty purposes. A person commits the offense of trespass in the first degree if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in another person’s property that is fenced or enclosed with the aim of excluding intruders or as to which notice against trespass is given; either by actual communication to the person or posting in a manner reasonably likely to be noticed by intruders.
TRESPASSING IN THE FIRST DEGREE & SECOND DEGREE
Typically, trespass in the first degree is considered a Class B misdemeanor under Missouri laws. The offense is punishable by serving jail term of up to 6 months in the county jail and a $500 fine. However, there are circumstances whereby trespass in the first degree would be elevated to more serious charges. For instance, if a person trespasses with the intent of targeting a law enforcement officer or a person who is a relative within the second degree of consanguinity to a law enforcement officer, the offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
PUNISHMENT FOR TRESPASSING
The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. If the trespass occurs in a building or real property which is part of a nuclear plant, the offense is considered a Class E felony, which is punishable by a jail term not exceeding four years. Otherwise, trespass that does not constitute these circumstances is considered second degree trespass which is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $200.
Chapter 569 of Missouri revised statutes require property owners in Missouri to give prospective trespassers notice that they are not allowed to enter private property. The notice can be given in the following ways:
- Installing a fence
- Actual communication to the person
- Posting a “No Trespassing” sign
- Marking the property with purple paint as described in Chapter 569
BREAKING AN ENTERING
Trespassing can also be charged under breaking and entering laws when a person uses force to enter another person’s property. Such an offense is considered a more serious crime. In addition, if the person forcefully gains entry onto the property with the intent to commit a crime, the offender could be charged with second degree burglary, which is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up 7 years. In circumstances where a deadly weapon is involved, threats of physical injury, among other conditions, trespass charges are treated as a Class B felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years in the Department of Corrections.
DEFENSES TO TRESPASSING
- Immediate necessity to trespass and protect the public during an emergency
- Immediate necessity to protect someone from harm or to protect property from destruction
- The property owner gave express or implied consent
- Trespass to reclaim personal property
CONTACT ONE OF OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
In normal circumstances, trespass in Missouri is not considered a major crime. However, there are certain situations whereby criminal charges could be elevated to felony charges. A good example is when trespass occurs in a nuclear plant. If you’ve been accused of or arrested for trespass in Missouri, you need to talk to a good criminal defense attorney because you could face serious penalties, fines or incarceration. A good Missouri criminal defense attorney will ensure your constitutional rights are upheld at all stages of the process and do their best to achieve the best outcome possible.