In Missouri, it is illegal to enter into or stay on someone else’s property without their permission. However, the ways in which the current laws are written can make it confusing at best to understand exactly what is considered trespassing. If you have been charged with trespassing in Springfield, MO, we urge you to contact Missouri Legal’s law office as soon as possible. We can provide you with legal aid and peace of mind by mitigating any charges you may be facing. Feel free to call us anytime to discuss your case.
Continue reading for more information regarding Missouri’s trespassing laws*, including the penalties that can transpire when someone is convicted of trespassing.
*Since various factors can impact the outcome of a criminal defense case, the following information is by no means a complete and absolute representation of Missouri’s laws or penalties in regards to trespassing. It should not be used in place of actual legal advice.
Trespassing in Missouri
A person can be charged with Missouri trespassing in the first or second degree, both of which are misdemeanor crimes. As with most crimes, specific factors determine the charge and penalties that a person may face if charged with trespassing. Findlaw breaks down the possible sentences for these crimes in plain English like this:
Trespassing in The Second Degree
To be charged and convicted with trespassing in the second degree a person or persons must have committed the following acts:
- Enters the property of another unlawfully and without permission from the owner.
- An offense of absolute liability, meaning the property doesn’t have to be marked against trespassing or have a fence.
The charge for this crime is a fine of up to $200.
Trespassing in The First Degree
Being charged with trespassing in the first degree in Missouri means that a person or persons have committed any of the following offenses:
- Enter a property that is clearly marked with purple paint, as described in the Missouri Statute.
- Enters into a property with “ No Trespassing” signs posted.
- Enters into a property that is fenced.
- Knowingly, unlawfully enters a property or refuses to leave after being told to.
The charge in Missouri for trespassing in the first degree is a Class B Misdemeanor with up to six months in county jail and up to a $500 fine.
Missouri Notice Requirements
When it comes to Missouri trespassing cases, many times, the person who is being accused of the alleged crime was trespassing by mistake, not knowing that they were trespassing because there were no notice requirements or clear markers to keep trespassers out. Missouri requires no trespassing indicators and markers, including the Purple Paint Statute. This statute states that land that is marked with purple paint is also a sign letting would-be trespassers know they cannot pass through or into the property. The following are all legal notice requirements and markers that can be used as indicators that, unless permitted, people cannot enter the property:
- A fence around the property
- Telling the person or persons who are attempting to trespass that they can not enter the property.
- A sign that says, “No Trespassing.”
- Any real property owner or lessee can mark the property with purple paint;
- Purple paint marks are placed on trees or posts;
- Vertical paint lines must be at least 8 inches long; the bottom edge of each mark must be between 3 ft. and 5 ft. off the ground;
- Marks must readily visible to any person who approaches the property;
- Purple paint marks can’t be more than 100 ft. apart.
If a person’s no trespassing indicator is not clearly visible to someone who is approaching, there is a high chance (depending on the circumstances) that the charges against you can be dropped with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Get Help From A Missouri Trespassing Attorney Now
Even though trespassing charges are considered misdemeanor crimes, they are often associated with more severe crimes such as vandalism, breaking and entering, and domestic violence. Adding these charges usually results in felony charges. Furthermore, even having a misdemeanor trespassing conviction on your record could keep you from getting a well-paying job. Especially if the job or career requires you to handle other people’s property or go into other people’s homes, such as a bank teller or a real estate agent.
Missouri Legal’s criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in Missouri’s trespassing laws, as well as laws pertaining to the federal government. This allows our attorneys to make decisions with your best interests in mind. We can assist you in revealing both the strengths and weaknesses of your trespassing case in order to give you a fighting chance against the charges you are facing. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for trespassing in Springfield, MO, schedule a no-obligation, initial consultation with one of our attorneys in Missouri, at this consultation, you will be able to see if hiring us to work on your case makes sense for your situation. Give us a call today.