What is trespassing?
Trespassing is a misdemeanor crime that involved the intentional entering onto the property of another without authority or permission. The property may consist of vacant land, a home or residence, a business, or even public land from which one is banned from entering.
One may be banned from entering public land at certain times, such as the posted hours of a public park or all together such as a military base or installation. One may also be banned from a business or public land such as a beach or park if after having been asked to leave returns without permission. Under Rhode Island criminal law, Trespassing may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-44-26.
Legal elements of trespassing
In order to be convicted of Trespassing, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant entered or remained on the property of another
- without authority or permission
- the defendant was forbidden to enter or remain on the property by the person in lawful control of it
Examples of trespassing
There are several ways that a person can become a trespasser, and therefore, be guilty of the crime of trespassing. These include situations where the person knowingly intentionally entered the land or property of another without authority or where a person had authority to be on the premises but exceeded the scope of that authority. Some examples of trespassing include the following:
- A customer entering store to make a purchase but then entering into a storage room to look for a box for his own use.
- A person visiting the dentist who found the main office door locked and attempted to enter through adjacent living quarters.
- A person jumping into an abandoned quarry without permission.
- A person entering through the back of a store and passing a sign that said “Employees Only.”
- A person lawfully upon the premises for a picnic but then boarding a chairlift.
- A real estate agent uses a house listed for sale as a weekend getaway.
- A miner tunnels underneath the surface and crosses the boundary onto another person’s land.
- A person flies an airplane low across another person’s land.
- A person throwing something onto or flooding another’s property.
- A person returns to a casino or other business after being asked to leave.
- A person returns to a party after being asked to leave.
Potential punishment if convicted of trespassing in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island criminal law, a defendant convicted of Trespassing may be punished by imprisonment for not more than 1 year. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-44-26.
If you have been charged with Trespassing and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Property Defense Attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.