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Criminal Trespass Charge in the State of Illinois

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

Charges for criminal trespass in Illinois range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony depending on the subsection that is violated.

Criminal trespass subsections in Illinois law include:

  • Criminal Trespass to Vehicles (720 ILCS 5/21-2)
  • Criminal Trespass to Real Property (720 ILCS 5/21-3)
  • Criminal Trespass to State Supported Land (720 ILCS 5/21-5)
  • Criminal Trespass to a Safe School Zone (720 ILCS 5/21-5.5)
  • Criminal Trespass to Restricted Areas and Restricted Landing Areas at Airports (720 ILCS 5/21-7)
  • Criminal Trespass to a Nuclear Facility (720 ILCS 5/21-8)
  • Criminal Trespass to a Place of Public Amusement (720 ILCS 5/21-9)

Let’s look at a few of these subsections in more detail to examine what may constitute a violation and strategies that an experienced defense attorney may use to argue your case.

Criminal Trespass to Real Property

According to Illinois law, an individual may be charged with criminal trespass to real property when he or she:

(1) knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains within or on a building;

(2) enters upon the land of another, after receiving, prior to the entry, notice from the owner or occupant that the entry is forbidden;

A violation of either of these is considered a Class B misdemeanor.

Examples of this could include entering another person’s home without their permission or camping on their property even though there are signs posted identifying the land as private.

Criminal Trespass to a Safe School Zone

A “safe school zone” is an “area that encompasses any school property, ground, or street, sidewalk, or public way immediately adjacent thereto and any public right-of-way situated immediately adjacent to school property during regular school hours or within 60 minutes before or after the school day or 60 minutes before or after a school-sponsored activity.”

Illinois law states that “an individual may be charged with criminal trespass to a safe school zone when he or she “enters or remains in a safe school zone without lawful business, once being served either in person or by registered or certified mail that his or her presence has been withdrawn by the school administrator, or his or her designee, and whose presence or acts interfere with, or whenever there is reasonable suspicion to believe, such person will disrupt the orderly operation, or the safety, or peaceful conduct of the school or school activities.” Defendants of this charge face a Class A misdemeanor.

Examples here may include a student who is currently suspended or expelled returning to campus, or an adult who is not an employee or parent entering a school during school hours.

Criminal Trespass to a Place of Public Amusement

In Illinois, an individual may be charged with “criminal trespass to a place of public amusement when he or she knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains on any portion of a place of public amusement after having received notice that the general public is restricted from access to that portion of the place of public amusement.” This is considered a Class 4 felony. Upon imposition of any sentence, the court shall also impose a fine of not less than $1,000.

Examples of a “place of public amusement” could be a stadium or a theater. Any place that the public has access to, even if admission is charged. However, there are areas within these public spaces that are off limits to the public. Think player locker rooms at a stadium or the lighting booth at a theater.

Defensive Strategies

Defensive strategies for each of these subsections may include asking if the restricted area was clearly marked at the time the defendant entered it. The prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant “knowingly” entered or remained in this restricted area.

If you or a loved one are charged with criminal trespass in the city of Chicago or the state of Illinois, contact an experienced defense attorney who can examine the details of your case and generate a defensive strategy to be used in court. Call Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.