Criminal Trespassing Attorneys in Topeka, Kansas
Fighting difficult criminal cases is what ITR Law was built on
For some people accused of criminal trespassing in Kansas, it is the first time they come face to face with the criminal justice system. Many did not even know they were committing a crime by simply being in a place where they were not permitted to be.
Several different statutes and ordinances exist in Kansas concerning trespass. Even though it is often considered a “minor offense”, serious penalties and consequences can result — and, in some circumstances, mandatory jail sentences are even applied.
If you’re arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, therefore, do not take the situation lightly, even if you’re confident that you were not aware that you were trespassing. You face possible jail time and a permanent misdemeanor conviction on your record that could impact many aspects of your future, including work, education, travel, immigration status and more.
Whether your criminal trespassing case is in city, state or federal court, the seasoned criminal trespassing attorneys at ITR Law can help you build a defense and provide the best possible chance of escaping the harsh consequences of a conviction.
What is considered criminal trespass in Kansas?
Criminal trespass is a crime against property that is addressed in 21-3721 of the Kansas Statutes.
It applies when an individual enters or remains on another person’s property without permission, consent, or authorization. This could be because the owner of the property has revoked his/her permission, or it was never granted in the first place.
Most people understand that if a clear warning has been posted prohibiting entry to a certain area and an individual enters anyway, he/she can be charged with trespassing. Locked gates, “no entry” signs and fences are also good indications that you should not enter the area.
The same applies when the owner of a property has asked a person with no other authority to remain on a property to leave. Most reasonable people without a good reason to be there understand that they should politely leave.
However, if the authorization to be on a property is revoked, this is less well understood. A good example of having the initial authorization to enter a property later withdrawn is in a store, where a person enters to buy something but is asked to leave and remains on the property.
Kansas legislation covers both public and private trespassing offenses. The laws cover “any land, non-navigable body of water, structure, vehicle, aircraft or watercraft.” You can also be charged with criminal trespass if you behave in a manner that interferes with access to or from any healthcare facility — provided you know that you are not authorized to do so.
For most premises and properties, signs must be posted in a noticeable place that will likely be seen by visitors and/or the property should also be locked, fenced, enclosed, shut or secured against passage or entry.
Note that entering a property in violation of an existing restraining order can also lead to a criminal trespassing charge — with mandatory jail time applied.
Criminal trespass vs burglary
Unlike the charge of burglary, a charge of criminal trespass does not require an intent to commit a crime for it to result in a conviction.
Sometimes, if law enforcement does not have enough evidence to charge an accused person with burglary, a lesser charge of criminal trespass will be filed in the hope of securing a conviction.
The success or failure of this strategy will often hinge on the skills of the defendant’s criminal defense attorney.
What are the penalties for criminal trespass in Kansas?
There are three classes of misdemeanor offenses in Kansas. Criminal trespass is classified as a Class B nonperson misdemeanor. Other crimes in the same category include DUI first offense, criminal damage of property, driving without a license, etc.
Such offenses do not come with any mandatory penalties, but Class B misdemeanors are accompanied by a maximum sentence of six months’ jail time and a $1,000 fine.
Can you go to jail for criminal trespass in Kansas?
An experienced criminal defence lawyer will build a strong defence and may negotiate with the prosecution if a favorable outcome is possible. This will reduce the chances of any jail time being served for criminal trespass in Kansas.
Even if you are convicted, you can avoid jail if it is your first offence with no concurrent charges. Judges generally have wide powers of discretion with trespassing offenses and may assign probation rather than jail time.
However, sometimes the judges’ hands are tied. This applies to a criminal trespass charge that violates the terms of a restraining order. Restraining orders are legal documents that forbid an individual to go within a certain distance of another person.
Violations are taken seriously. The Kansas legislature specifically states that such a person:
“shall be sentenced to not less than 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment which shall be served either before or as a condition of any grant of probation or suspension, reduction of sentence or parole.”
What are the best defenses for criminal trespass in Kansas?
In many trespassing cases, a defendant either has a legitimate reason for being on the property or there has been a misunderstanding. This should not lead to a permanent criminal record.
As you work with your criminal trespassing defense attorney and the evidence is examined thoroughly, you will be advised what your best defence is.
The most common defences for criminal trespassing are:
- No knowledge: if it can be proven that a defendant was not aware that he/she was trespassing, it is unlikely that the criminal prosecution will prevail. The absence of signs or locked gates, for instance, could be important evidence.
- Consent: if the defendant believed that consent to be on the property had been provided, the case could be dismissed if the claim is proven to be reasonable.
- Retrieval of personal property: if someone retrieves personal property that enters another person’s property (such as a ball when playing sports or a kite), this can be a valid defense in itself.
- Safety: sometimes, it may be necessary to stray onto another person’s property because of safety reasons, e.g., to escape from an attacker.
A legal defense is generally only as good as the attorney who argues it. None of these defenses are foolproof and must be expertly argued by a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Start by speaking to a criminal trespassing lawyer at ITR Law in Topeka during a free case evaluation. We can advise you of your legal options and assess how best to build your defense.
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A rigorous defense
Our attorneys’ experience in criminal defense means that, if we take your case on, we are confident of preparing a rigorous defense.
We will focus on key areas such as the following:
- The precise evidence against you
- The credibility of accusers and/or witnesses
- How the evidence was collected by criminal investigators
- How you were informed of your legal rights by the police
- Interrogation procedures and other protocols
- Your state of mental health at the time of the alleged crime
- Whether there are other factors that explain your alleged actions
In this way, we will build a robust case that will stand up to scrutiny and provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome.