Trespassing on a military base is not only dangerous, but it is also highly illegal. Military bases are not always places of secrecy and danger, but they are secured areas that it is illegal to enter without permission. If you were trying to get in to see a friend or loved one – or if you tried to get into a military base to commit a prank or a crime inside – you may face criminal charges just for entering the base without permission.
In many cases, these could be charges for federal crimes. The penalties you would face if convicted could be quite severe, sending you to jail and forcing you to pay high fines. For help with your case, contact Overson Law today. Our Utah attorneys for trespassing on a military base may be able to take your case and fight to get charges dropped or dismissed or get penalties reduced. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.
Criminal Charges for Trespassing on a Military Base
Military bases are owned and operated by the federal government, but they are still within the boundaries of the state in which they sit. This means that, in some situations, the laws of Utah and federal laws governing the entire United States might apply. Ultimately, you could face charges in a state court in Utah for trespassing under Utah Code § 76-6-206. Alternatively – or additionally – the federal government might charge you with trespassing on a military base under 18 USC § 1382.
For the Utah trespassing statute, you can commit the crime of “criminal trespass” by either entering or remaining on a piece of property where you were not authorized to be. Simply walking where you are not supposed to be is not a crime unless there was some intent or mental element to the crime as well. This can come in the form of an intent to annoy or injure someone once you are there, an intent to commit a misdemeanor inside, or trespassing after you have knowledge that you cannot be there. This knowledge can come from actual communication or posting of signs to keep trespassers out. If you snuck in with the intent to commit a crime or injury, or if you violated “no trespassing” signs, these charges might apply.
Additionally, Utah trespassing charges can be issued if you fly a drone over a military base. The drone must cross into the airspace above the installation to qualify as trespassing.
For the federal crime of trespassing on a military base, the federal statute covers “any military, naval, or Coast Guard” facility. The language is also broad, encompassing more than just “bases” by including terms like “post” or “fort” as well as “installation,” which broadly covers nearly any type of building.
If you enter a location without permission with the intent to commit a serious crime once you get there, you could also be charged with another crime: burglary. Burglary is not just a theft crime but actually covers trespassing with the intent to commit a felony such as theft, rape, murder, or assault. Burglary can be charged under the Utah Code or U.S. Code as well.
Penalties for Trespassing on a Military Base in Utah
Criminal trespass in Utah can carry substantial penalties. This offense is a misdemeanor, which means that it could result in fines, jail time, or both. If you trespass in a location that qualifies as a “dwelling,” such as the residential quarters of a base or a house on a military base, the crime is a class A misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500. Otherwise, it is typically a class B misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. In some cases, the offense may be an infraction, which has a fine up to $750 and no jail time.
If the crime is charged as burglary, it is a second degree felony. This could carry 1-15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. If the trespassing occurs in a dwelling, it is a third degree felony with 0-5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Under the federal trespassing statute, the crime could carry up to 6 months in federal prison and a fine.
If a trespass or burglary charge involves the commission or attempt to commit another crime, that crime can also be charged. For instance, entering a military base to steal something could qualify as trespass or burglary depending on the value of what was stolen – but the theft or attempted theft can still be charged separately. In many cases, these penalties can also stack with the penalties for trespassing or burglary, potentially lengthening your jail sentence.
These penalties may also have other issues that affect you if you are a military service member or were considering joining the military. Trespassing on a military installation as a member of the armed forces is likely to lead to a court-martial. If a civilian later attempts to join the military after trespassing on a military base, a criminal record may prevent that.
Call Our Utah Attorney for Trespassing on a Military Base
In many cases, trespassing on a military base can lead to serious charges. These charges may come from a prank or misunderstanding, in which case criminal charges may be completely inappropriate. Talk to an attorney for help fighting your case and working to avoid jail time and fines for the alleged trespass. For a free legal consultation on your case, call the Salt Lake City lawyers for trespassing on a military base at Overson Law today. Our number is (801) 758-2287.