Understanding Criminal Trespass
This page is designed to help you better understand the basics of criminal trespass, the specific elements of criminal trespass in the state of Ohio, what the penalties are for an individual who may be found guilty of criminal trespass, and how an attorney can help an individual who is accused of criminal trespass.
Although the penalties may seem minor, criminal trespass is a serious matter that can have lasting consequences if an individual is not careful. A person should always be aware of where they are and if they have permission to be there.
Note: Just as with any other legal situation, if a person finds themselves needing a Guardian Ad Litem or being appointed a Guardian Ad Litem, they should not hesitate to contact an attorney. It is a smart tactical move and can prevent a person from incriminating themselves or possibly getting themselves into even more trouble. This page details the specifics regarding a Guardian Ad Litem in the state of Ohio, and can vary from state-to-state.
What Is Criminal Trespass?
You may be wondering, what is ‘criminal trespass’?
Merriam-Webster defines trespass as: “a unlawful act committed on the person, property, or rights of another; especially: a wrongful entry on real property”
Note: real property refers to: “an estate or property consisting of lands and of all appurtenances to lands, as buildings, crops, or mineral rights (distinguished from personal property)”
Simply put, criminal trespass tends to occur when an individual enters into or onto someone else’s property (land, buildings, vehicles, etc.) without their permission, and continues as long as they remain there.
What Are the Elements of Criminal Trespass?
Criminal Trespass is covered by § 2911.21 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
§ 2911.21 States:
“(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall do any of the following:
(1) Knowingly enter or remain on the land or premises of another;
(2) Knowingly enter or remain on the land or premises of another, the use of which is lawfully restricted to certain persons, purposes, modes, or hours, when the offender knows the offender is in violation of any such restriction or is reckless in that regard;
(3) Recklessly enter or remain on the land or premises of another, as to which notice against unauthorized access or presence is given by actual communication to the offender, or in a manner prescribed by law, or by posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders, or by fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to restrict access;
(4) Being on the land or premises of another, negligently fail or refuse to leave upon being notified by signage posted in a conspicuous place or otherwise being notified to do so by the owner or occupant, or the agent or servant of either.”
Breaking It Down: In Ohio, a person is guilty of criminal trespass: (1) if they enter or remain on someone else’s property without their permission; (2) if they enter onto or remain on another’s property without permission, knowing they shouldn’t be there because of certain lawful restrictions; (3) if they enter onto or remain on a person’s property after that individual has been warned by a sign, by a fence, or by someone associated with that property that the trespasser should not be there; OR (4) if they refuse to leave another person’s property after seeing a sign or someone associated with that property has informed them that they should not be there.
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Trespass?
Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21 also details the consequences or penalties for someone who is found guilty of criminal trespass.
Under § 2911.21 Subsections (B) & (C), the Ohio Revised Code disqualifies two potential defenses a person may try to use if they are accused of criminal trespass.
Subsection (B) states:
“(B) It is no defense to a charge under this section that the land or premises involved was owned, controlled, or in custody of a public agency.”
Breaking It Down: Just because the property a person has entered onto is associated with a public agency, a person can still be found to have trespassed on that property. This is an improper defense in the state of Ohio.
Subsection (C) states:
“(C) It is no defense to a charge under this section that the offender was authorized to enter or remain on the land or premises involved, when such authorization was secured by deception.”
Breaking It Down: Even though a person has received permission to enter onto/into or remain on/in property, that permission is not valid when the person who is accused of criminal trespass acquired that permission through deception. This is an improper defense in the state of Ohio.
In the state of Ohio, a person who is found guilty of criminal trespass is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor. This is usually punishable by a small fine of no more than $250 (as outlined in § 2929.28 (2)(a)(4) of the Ohio Revised Code) and/or the possibility of up to 30 days in jail.
However, this can change depending on the circumstances. The situation can vary depending on the specific details of what the individual used to trespass as well as the specific property the individual trespassed on.
Some of these varying scenarios are outlined in Subsections (D)(2), (D)(3), and (E) of the Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21.
Subsection (D)(2) states:
“(2) Notwithstanding section 2929.28 of the Revised Code, if the person, in committing the violation of this section, used a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle, the court shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation.”
Note: § 2929.28 of the Ohio Revised Code provides an outline for financial sanctions for misdemeanors in the state of Ohio. Also, § 2911.21 defers to § 4519.01 of the Ohio Revised Code to define “snowmobile”, “off-highway motorcycle”, and “all-purpose vehicle”.
Breaking It Down: In Ohio, if a person accused of or charged with criminal trespass used a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle as part of that criminal trespass, that person will receive a fine that is two times the normal amount.
Subsection (D)(3) states:
“(3) If an offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more violations of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, and the offender, in committing each violation, used a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle, the court, in addition to or independent of all other penalties imposed for the violation, may impound the certificate of registration of that snowmobile or off-highway motorcycle or the certificate of registration and license plate of that all-purpose vehicle for not less than sixty days. In such a case, section 4519.47 of the Revised Code applies.”
Note: § 4519.47 of the Ohio Revised Code provides an outline for what the specific actions are taken by the state of Ohio if a vehicle is to be impounded. The specific actions taken by the state in regards to criminal trespass can be found in § 4519.47(B).
Breaking It Down: In Ohio, if an individual who is accused of criminal trespass used a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle in the current criminal trespass charge as well as two or more previous criminal trespass charges (which that person as either been convicted of or plead guilty to), the state of Ohio can impound that vehicle’s license and/or certificate of registration, on top of the fine and possible jail time.
Subsection (E) states:
“(E) Notwithstanding any provision of the Revised Code, if the offender, in committing the violation of this section, used an all-purpose vehicle, the clerk of the court shall pay the fine imposed pursuant to this section to the state recreational vehicle fund created by section 4519.11 of the Revised Code.”
Note: § 4519.11 of the Ohio Revised Code outlines the specific details of fines allocated to the State of Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles Fund – Recreational Vehicle Fund.
Breaking it Down: In Ohio, if the person accused of or charged with criminal trespass used an all-purpose vehicle, the fine is to be paid directly to the State of Ohio’s Recreational Vehicle Fund by the clerk of the court.
Although the penalties vary depending on the circumstances, there are still penalties for a person who is found guilty of criminal trespass, primarily fines.