Trespassing Attorneys in Festus Defending Your Rights
Have you been charged with trespassing? If so, you’ll need solid legal representation to help you in dealing with these charges. Missouri takes the safety of its residents very seriously, and that means trespassing charges are serious as well .
In Missouri, trespassing involves the act of entering and/or staying on a property without requesting or being granted permission first. This is a basic violation of the property owner’s privacy and sense of safety.
Trespassing is considered a criminal offense in the state of Missouri. People who are accused of trespassing are likely to face criminal and civil liability charges.
With our decades of experience dealing with cases like this, we could provide a strong legal option in Jefferson County, MO, if you want an effective and favorable resolution to your case.
Call us Grafe & Batchelor Attorneys at Law today at 636-933-9151 to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Trespass Offenses in Missouri
Under Missouri’s Criminal Trespass Laws, there are two major types of trespass:
- First-degree trespass
- Second-degree trespass
First-degree trespass involves the unlawful entry and residence of another individual’s enclosed or fenced property. Fenced or enclosed properties are intentionally designed that way to deter trespassers.
These properties (like residences and private homes) are also likely to have written warnings meant to ward off intruders from accessing the property. If you enter properties with clear signs of notice against trespassers, you may have committed first-degree trespassing.
To clarify, first-degree trespassing charges often include the following elements:
- You, with knowledge aforethought, illegally entered a property that’s not your own and/or remained there even with clear verbal or written warnings about not trespassing
- You unlawfully gained entry onto properties marked with purple paint and violated the purple paint statute
- You unlawfully gained access to a property with clear and boldly displayed “No Trespassing” signs
- You entered a property that’s fenced and designed to deter unwelcome visitors
Second-degree trespass offenses include the following elements:
- You willingly and unlawfully gained access to another person’s property without their permission
- You entered a property that isn’t marked or fenced without the property owner’s permission
The Possibility of Being Shot for Trespassing in Missouri
Missouri’s Stand Your Ground laws only allow property owners and occupants to shoot threatening or violent trespassers. The law likely intends that, if you weren’t violent or posed no danger, a warning (verbally, from the property owner, for instance) would suffice. All of these complicated elements might prove important for your defense, and a lawyer can help sort through all the details.
What’s the Missouri Purple Paint Statute?
The color purple on a piece of property generally means “no trespassing” in Missouri. People who don’t want to write the standard “no trespassing” sign can paint a small portion of their property purple.
This might be intended to indicate that a property is occupied and should deter trespassers from wandering, straying, or coming on to the property.
Is there a Difference between Civil Trespassing and Criminal Trespassing?
While they are both considered trespassing, the key difference between civil and criminal is in intent and knowledge. Criminal trespassing is knowingly entering and remaining on another person’s property without their permission.
An example of this is entering a non-occupied residence with boldly displayed “no trespassing signs.”
Civil trespassing typically involves a lack of knowledge or intent, and it is basically wandering on to another person’s property without knowing. An example of civil trespass is accidentally walking into someone’s backyard without their permission. Which brings us to the question: can you be charged with trespassing if there are no signs?
The answer is likely YES, particularly if your actions result in property damages.
What are some of the Penalties for Trespassing in Missouri?
If you’re convicted of trespassing, you could be heavily fined, get a criminal record, or even go to jail. Everything depends on the severity of your crimes.
First-degree trespassing is often charged as a Class B misdemeanor and can attract punishments resulting in a fine and/or 6 months imprisonment in a county jail.
It can also be bumped up to a felony and you could be charged with a breaking and entering offense (B&E) if you forcefully enter a property with a criminal intent. Second-degree trespass typically attracts a fine as well.
Contact Experienced Trespassing Lawyers in Festus, MO
Grafe & Batchelor Attorneys at Law can often come up with a strong defense and might be able to help get fines waived or charges bumped down to lighter infractions.
We can help you explore your options. Contact us today at 636-933-9151 to schedule a free consultation.