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 incredibly 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 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 Salt Lake City
In Salt Lake City, UT, 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.
The Utah charges for trespassing would likely come under Utah Code § 76-6-206. This law makes it illegal to enter or remain on the property you are not supposed to be on. To violate this law, you must enter the area with your whole body. You could also 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 the 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.
No matter what your circumstances are, being charged with trespassing at a state level can have lasting repercussions. If you or a loved one was charged with trespassing under Utah Code § 76-6-206, you need to contact an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney immediately. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, can help you if you were charged with this type of criminal offense in Utah.
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, various statutes 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 world’s top prosecutors. These cases are also investigated by the F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement officials.
Trespassing in a Federally-Administered Parks
The federal government holds vast portions of land used as parks. Most of these parks are open to the public and have recreational and historical value. However, despite being accessible to the general population, people cannot use these spaces as they see fit. For instance, the federal government established different rules and regulations governing the way parks should be used. For example, part of federally-administered parks requires people to refrain from throwing garbage on the ground, cutting trees, defacing any historical sites or artifacts, or trespassing.
If you are caught breaking any of the rules set forth by the federal government in a park – which may be considered federal property – you may face criminal charges. If you are convicted, you may face severe penalties, which may include jail time and steep fines. If you or a loved one was charged with trespassing a federally-administered park in Utah – or any other criminal offense – we can help. At the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, we can help you understand what you can expect from your case and help you defend against your charges.
Trespassing in a Federal Building
The federal government also administers many different office buildings. This means that you may need permission to enter into these buildings, as required by federal rule. If any federal building has clear signs requiring clearance – such as fences, gates, or locked doors – and you enter without adequate authorization, you may be seen as a trespasser. It is also critical to keep in mind that if you are inside a federal building and are asked to leave and you refuse, you may also be at risk of facing trespassing charges. Whatever your case may be, it is essential to follow any and every rule set forth by the federal government. Otherwise, you may expose yourself to criminal charges, a potential conviction, and severe criminal penalties. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, can help you with this and other legal matters.
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.
Misdemeanor Charges for Trespassing on Federal Property
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.
Felony Charges for Trespassing on Federal Property
If the crime is charged as burglary, you could instead face second or third-degree felony charges. 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, you can also be charged with committing the other crime or attempting to commit the other crime once you get to the property. This can lead to independent penalties for the underlying offense, which may stack with trespassing or burglary penalties.
Differences Between Trespassing and Burglary in Salt Lake City
Many people tend to believe that trespassing and burglary are the same. Both offenses share similar elements. However, these are entirely separate, and each can carry different penalties.
Burglary refers to entering into another’s property – private property – with the intent to commit a crime. Common examples of burglary include assault, lewdness, sexual battery, and other criminal offenses. Burglary charges can be upgraded to aggravated burglary if the perpetrator used a weapon to commit the burglary.
Compared to burglary, trespassing does not require the element of intent to commit a crime. Trespassing refers to entering into another person’s or entity’s private property without authorization. This is the case of trespassing on federal property. In this situation, you may not intend to harm another person while on such a property. However, federal regulation may require you to have proper clearance to be present inside a federally-administered property.
If you lack the required authorization or clearance, you may be arrested and charged with trespassing, which can lead to devastating – and sometimes life-altering – consequences. If you have been charged with trespassing on federal property in Utah, you need to contact a skilled Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney right away. Our criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, can help you with these and other legal matters.
Defending Against Trespassing Charges in Salt Lake City, UT
If you have been charged with trespassing on federal property in Utah, it is essential to hire an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney. It is critical to understand that trespassing on federally-owned or administered property in Utah is a very serious crime that can carry significant consequences. However, our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you with this legal matter.
Fortunately, it is possible to defend against trespassing in federal property charges in Utah. First, it is possible to defend against these charges by establishing reasonable doubt. In our criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven otherwise. In any criminal case, the prosecutor has the burden of showing you trespassed into a federal property beyond any reasonable doubt. If they cannot meet this burden, you cannot be charged with this offense.
Suppose you were walking into a federally-owned property when you are detained and charged with trespassing. In this case, you may be able to show evidence to support the fact that the property was opened to the general public, or you had the required clearance to enter.
Moreover, you can establish that trespassing did happen, but such action was entirely justified. For instance, it is possible that you trespassed on a federal property because of a life-threatening situation. This type of justified action is known as “necessity” and can be used as a defense in a trespassing case. However, it is important to understand that you may face civil liability if you damaged property while trespassing.
As you can see, it is possible to defend against trespassing on federal property in Utah. It is critical to let a skilled, experienced Utah criminal defense attorney handle your case. The last thing you want to do is to try to take over your case. Our attorneys are ready to sit down with you and discuss what you may expect from your case moving forward.
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.