Criminal trespass is a serious offense under Utah Code § 76-6-206. If you, your child, or one of your family members is convicted of criminal trespassing, he or she could face harsh penalties, including expensive fines, months in jail, and the creation of a criminal record. Unfortunately, this record can continue to cause problems with regard to employment and education long after the criminal case itself has resolved.
If you have been charged with trespassing in Salt Lake City, you need to act quickly. Representation by a skilled and aggressive trespassing defense lawyer will give you the best chance of beating the charges and resuming your normal life. It may be possible to have the charges dropped, or even have the case dismissed outright. Call the law offices of Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation with Salt Lake City trespassing attorney Darwin Overson.
When Can You Be Charged with Trespassing in Utah?
Criminal trespass is similar to, but distinct from, burglary. They are separate crimes under the Utah Criminal Code. A person can be arrested for trespassing in Utah when he or she unlawfully enters, or remains on or inside of, another person’s property:
- With reckless disregard for the safety of others.
- With intent to:
- Commit any crime, excluding theft and all felonies (which would make the alleged offense a burglary).
- Injure or “cause annoyance to” anyone present at the property. Spray-painting and graffiti are included in this definition.
You can also be charged with trespassing for allegedly:
- Remaining on or inside of property despite:
- The presence of private property or anti-trespassing notices.
- The presence of fencing.
- Being verbally warned not to enter.
It is a valid defense to the charges to state that the defendant:
- Was on open public property.
- Obeyed all rules and restrictions imposed upon lawful visitors to the property.
The Juvenile and Criminal Court Processes After You Are Arrested
Trespassing is a common juvenile crime in Utah, though people of all ages can be arrested for this offense. The Utah court process is different for adult and juvenile defendants.
When an adult is arrested, he or she will be taken into police custody. From this point onward, the prosecutor has up to 72 hours to decide whether to formally file charges. If trespassing charges are filed, the defendant will have a court hearing called an arraignment.
Arraignment does not serve the same purpose as a trial. The purpose of arraignment is to inform the defendant of the charges. This is also the time when the defendant enters a plea (typically guilty or not guilty). After arraignment, attorneys from both sides can submit various requests to the court, which are called “motions.” The court may also decide to schedule a pre-trial conference. Trial is the final stage of the court process, other than sentencing if the defendant is convicted.
When a juvenile is charged with a crime, the charges are handled differently. The major difference is that adult courts are criminal courts, whereas juvenile courts are civil (non-criminal). Juvenile courts are also more private in order to protect confidentiality. Additionally, juvenile hearings tend to be less formal than adult hearings.
Unlike adults, juveniles do not have a right to bail, nor will they receive a jury trial. They do, however, have the right to be represented by an attorney. When a juvenile is arrested, he or she should receive a hearing called a Detention Hearing within 48 hours. The purpose of the Detention Hearing is to determine whether the juvenile should receive Home Detention, Locked Detention, or another type of placement. Guilt or innocence is determined at another hearing called the Juvenile Court Hearing.
Fines and Jail Sentencing: Penalties for Misdemeanors in Utah
Utah divides crimes into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors are further divided into three subcategories: Class C, Class B, and Class A, with Class A being the most serious. Criminal trespass can be a Class B or Class A misdemeanor depending on the details of the incident being alleged. Penalties for Class A and Class B misdemeanors in Utah may include:
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Fine – Up to $1,000
- Sentence – Up to 6 months in jail
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine – Up to $2,500
- Sentence – Up to 1 year in jail
Instead of being convicted, minors are “adjudicated delinquent.” They will not be incarcerated among adult offenders, but may face penalties such as:
- Mandatory community service.
- Placement on supervised probation.
- Restitution (reimbursement for the victims).
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
Utah trespassing lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience handling criminal trespassing charges in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, Taylorsville, Murray, Riverton, and throughout Salt Lake County. Darwin also handles cases in Wasatch County, Morgan County, Davis County, Weber County, Tooele County, Box Elder County, Rich County, Cache County, and other counties across the state of Utah.
Call the law offices of Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation. Darwin will keep your family’s information confidential. He is available to make emergency attorney visits to jails and holding centers if your loved one is currently in custody.