Trespassing is one of the oldest crimes in the book, dating all the way back to the settling of the country. Despite how aged of an offense it may be though, there are thousands of people who are convicted of trespassing across the country every year. At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to understand how trespassing is defined in Massachusetts, as well as what the penalties for a trespassing offense are.
What Constitutes Trespassing in Massachusetts?
As found in Section 120 of Massachusetts General Laws, a person commits an act of trespass when they enter or remain in or upon the dwelling, house, building, boat, school bus, land, wharf, or pier of another without the legal right to do so. As found in Massachusetts jury instructions, a defendant can be convicted of trespass if the prosecution proves two things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That without any right, the defendant entered or remained in or on the property of another; and
- The defendant was prohibited from entering or remaining, either by means of a posted notice, or directly (i.e. told by the person lawfully in control of the property that they could not enter or remain).
What Are the Penalties for Trespassing in Massachusetts?
If a person is found to be trespassing and is convicted of the crime as such, the crime will be penalized (per the same section of Massachusetts code cited above) by:
- A fine of not more than $100; or
- Imprisonment of not more than 30 days; or
- Both fine and imprisonment.
While you may be thinking that the penalties above aren’t very severe, and therefore may not warrant legal counsel, remember that a conviction means a mark on your permanent criminal record, which could impair your ability to secure certain occupations, housing, or other opportunities in the future.
Defending Yourself Against Trespassing Charges
If you are charged with the crime of trespassing, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately, who will get to work building your defense. Some defenses to a crime of trespassing include:
- The defendant was not upon the property in question;
- The defendant was given permission to be on the property; or
- The defendant did not know that they were not allowed to be on the property (i.e. there was neither signage nor direct instruction to refrain from entering or remaining on the property).
Remember, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in violation of the law. Our lawyer can help to protect you against a conviction.
Call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski Today
If you have been charged with trespassing, our talented Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer can help to mitigate a conviction or harsh sentencing. To learn more about our legal services and why we recommend calling us as soon as you have been convicted of a crime, request your free consultation today by sending us a message, or calling us directly at (978) 397-0011. Our lawyer will put your needs first throughout the entire process.