Fairfax Trespassing Lawyer
In my time as a Fairfax trespassing lawyer, I have repeatedly seen innocent people charged with trespassing only to have their cases dismissed because the “factual” predicate for the charge was completely absurd. This happens more often than you would think, and anytime one of my clients is charged with trespassing, I immediately lauch into a highly aggressive attack of the Commonwealth’s version of the facts. To be sure, aggressive does not equate to unprofessional or rude. Instead, my aggressive, yet professional approach allows me to politely let the prosecutor know that, when I am on the case, they better damn well not expect the process to be a walk in the park.
If you have been charged with trespassing, you would be wise to contact a Fairfax trespassing lawyer to discuss what your options are, what defenses you may have, as well as how you might be able to have the charges dropped.
What is Trespassing?
As a Fairfax trespassing lawyer, I get this question quite often. Trespassing is a criminal offense which prohibits anyone from entering and remaining on another person’s property without permission. While the law of trespassing may seem pretty straightforward, there are a lot of situations where you could be charged with trespassing without having ever thought you had done anything wrong. By way of example, trespassing can be charged for entering onto public property without permission. Likewise, a person could be charged with trespassing at a restaurant if they are causing a disturbance or acting disorderly and, after being asked to leave, they do not comply in a timely manner. Essentially, trespassing can be charged in situations where someone may have had consent to enter the property, but remains on the property when consent no longer exists or the accused exceeds the limits of consent set by the owner of the property.
A brief list of situations where a person can be charged with trespassing include the following:
- Remaining on property after being asked to leave;
- Entering and/or remaining on property where a sign is posted which forbids trespassing;
- Encouraging another person to trespass onto property;
- Trespassing onto a person’s property with the intention of causing damaging;
- Illegally posting a sign on another person’s property;
- Entering property in violation of a protective order;
- Trespassing onto school property;
- Remaining on school property without permission;
- Trespassing on a cemetery at night;
- Willfully blocking an entrance or exit to a cemetery;
- Trespassing on church property or remaining after being told to leave;
- Using a fraudulent or counterfeit ticket on a train;
- Trespassing on a railroad;
- Obstructing the free passage of others in a public place;
- Picketing at a person’s home in a disruptive manner;
There are a litany of other trespassing laws in Virginia, but if you have been charged with any manner of trespassing, it is prudent to speak with a Fairfax trespassing lawyer who will be able to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case and keep your record clean.
Possible Penalties for Trespassing
Most trespassing offenses are either Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanors. A Class 2 misdemeanor can be punished by up to six months in jail while a Class 1 misdemeanor can carry a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
However, pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-119, a person can be charged with felony trespassing if they selected the property on which to trespass based on the landholder’s race, religion, color, or ethnicity. This crime will be charged as a Class 6 felony which carries a sentence of between one to five years in prison and fine of up to $2,500. However, in the discretion of the judge or jury, the person may be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail with a mandatory 30 day jail sentence.
Similarly, if a person intends to damage a person’s property in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-121, and does so based on a person’s race, religion, color, or ethnicity, then they will be charged with a Class 6 felony as well.
Finally, a person may be charged with a Class 6 felony if they unlawfully enter or fail to leave school property with the intention of abducting another person’s child. See Virginia Code § 18.2-128(b).
If you have been charged with felony trespassing, it is imperative that you retain a Fairfax trespassing lawyer with the knowledge and experience to either have the charges dismissed, lowered to a less severe charge, or to take your case to trial and obtain an acquittal of the charges.
Possible Defenses to Trespassing
There a number of defenses your Fairfax trespassing lawyer can assert on your behalf. For example, to be convicted of trespassing under Virginia law, the defendant must have intended to remain on the land without permission or returned to the land without permission. However, the accused must have had notice that they were not welcome on the land before they can be charged with trespassing. People can get lost and involuntarily and unknowingly enter another person’s land. Additionally, a person could unintentionally enter another person’s property because they were unaware of property lines. While you may not believe these sort of defenses are common, you would be surprised how often a Fairfax trespassing lawyer utilizes these defenses when fighting a trespassing case.
Contact a Fairfax Trespassing Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with trespassing, it is imperative that you retain a Fairfax trespassing lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier your Fairfax trespassing lawyer gets in touch with the prosecutor, the more likely it is that you will obtain a favorable outcome. A good Fairfax criminal defense attorney will explain the mitigating circumstances of the case, as well the absence of criminal history on the defendant’s record. Additionally, highlighting the weak links in the prosecution’s case at an earlier time tends to increase the chances the charges will be dropped or dismissed. Contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation with a Fairfax trespassing lawyer. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
Law Offices of Randall Sousa
3007 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031