Salt Lake City Lawyer for Trespassing on Federal Property

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Trespassing on someone else’s property can lead to serious legal trouble.  While entering a local park or community center after hours might not lead to particularly serious charges, entering a state park, post office, courthouse, military facility, or other federal lands or buildings without permission can lead to serious criminal charges and penalties.

For help with your case, contact the Salt Lake City lawyers for trespassing on federal property at Overson Law.  Our attorneys can help with state and federal charges for trespassing on federal property and work to get your case dropped or have penalties reduced.  For a free legal consultation on your case, call our attorneys today at (801) 758-2287.

Federal Property Trespassing Laws in Utah

In Utah, it is illegal to trespass on private property – or public property, if it is not currently open to the public.  This covers any Utah government property as well as federal property.  When it comes to federal property, the U.S. government can get jurisdiction over any crimes committed against the property or the government.  However, Utah can still have jurisdiction as well if you trespass within the borders of Utah.  This means you could actually face charges from both the state and the federal governments.

State Charges

The Utah charges for trespassing would likely come under Utah Code § 76-6-206.  This law makes it illegal to enter or remain on property you are not supposed to be on.  To violate this law, you must enter the area with your whole body, or you could be charged for flying a drone over the property without permission.

This law also has a mental component to it.  It is not enough that you simply commit the illegal act; the government must also prove that you trespassed…

  • With the intent to annoy,
  • With the intent to commit a crime on the property,
  • With actual communication from someone that told you the property was off-limits, or
  • With knowledge that trespassing was illegal because of posted signs or warnings.

If you enter under these circumstances, you can be charged with trespassing.  If you enter with the intent to commit a felony or a more serious crime once on the property, you could be charged with burglary instead.  Burglary does not have to mean theft; trespassing with the intent to commit any felony (e.g., kidnapping, rape, murder, arson) can be considered burglary.

Federal Charges

Because the crime touches on federal property, this crime could be prosecuted by the U.S. Government in federal court alongside any Utah charges.  Under federal law, there are various statutes that cover various types of federal land and buildings.  For instance, trespass on a national forest (of which Utah has 6) is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 1863.  Trespass on a military base is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 1382.  Trespassing on other buildings and properties under various parts of the U.S. government’s jurisdiction might be covered by different statutes as well.  In addition to these charges, there are also federal statutes against burglary.

Federal crimes are often more serious offenses because they are charged and tried by U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys – some of the top prosecutors in the world.  These cases are also investigated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement officials.

Penalties for Trespass on Federal Property

If you are tried and convicted of trespassing on federal property, you could face substantial penalties.  Whether this is a federal crime or a state crime, there is a risk of jail time for the offense.  In addition, criminal fines could set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The state crime for trespassing is charged as either a class A or class B misdemeanor.  If the property that you trespassed upon was considered a “dwelling” – such as military barracks or the residence of a federal employee on a base or other piece of federal property – then the crime is a class A misdemeanor.  In Utah, class A misdemeanors are punished by up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.  A class B misdemeanor carries up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

If the crime is charged as burglary, you could instead face charges for a second or third degree crime.  Again, the increased charges are used if the property was a dwelling.  A second degree felony carries 1-15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.  A third degree felony carries 0-5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

If the crime is charged in federal court, the penalties vary from statute to statute.  For example, trespass on a military base or installation can lead to a fine as well as up to 6 months in jail.  Other forms of trespassing might have more severe penalties.  If the crime is charged as burglary, the penalties are usually higher.

In any case involving trespassing with the intent to commit a crime once you get to the property, you can also be charged with committing the other crime or attempting to commit the other crime.  This can lead to independent penalties for the underlying offense, which may stack with the penalties for trespassing or burglary.

Call Our Salt Lake City Trespassing on Federal Lands Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was arrested for trespassing in a national park or forest, a federal courthouse, a post office, or another piece of federal property, call our attorneys for help with your charges.  You may be facing potential penalties including a federal prison sentence, so it is vital to have an attorney examine your case and fight to keep you out of jail.  Call Overson Law today to set up a free legal consultation with our attorneys.  Our number is (801) 758-2287.


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