Trespassing can be a crime – but not always. In some cases, it’s a civil matter that could land you in court.
So what is criminal trespass, and how does it differ from civil trespass?
What is Trespassing?
Trespassing can fall under two sets of laws – one is criminal and the other is civil.
Criminal Trespassing Charges
You can get in legal trouble for criminal trespass, which happens when you intentionally enter someone else’s dwelling without that person’s consent (or the consent of another person on the premises), when you do so under circumstances that tend to create or provoke a breach of the peace.
In order for you to get into trouble for civil trespassing, the landowner must take you to court for being on his or her property without permission.
What is Wisconsin’s Trespassing Penalty?
In Wisconsin, criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor. You could end up spending up to 9 months in jail and pay up to $10,000 in fines if the court convicts you.
Can You Defend Against Criminal Trespassing Charges?
There are some defenses that your criminal attorney could use, although every case is different. One of the most common defenses to a criminal trespassing charge is that you were only there by mistake; you didn’t intend to be there. Your attorney might also argue that you had no intent to create or provoke a breach of the peace, or that you were invited to the property.
Have You Been Charged With Criminal Trespass?
If you’ve been charged with criminal trespass in Milwaukee or any of the surrounding communities, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 414-383-6700 if you’re in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Southeast Wisconsin. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions during your free case review.