Trespassing is widely viewed to be a criminal activity, and Ohio makes criminal trespass a misdemeanor property crime. It is important for people to understand that repeat offenses could lead to increased criminal penalties.
People could be charged with a criminal trespass offense even when they thought that they were legally allowed to be on another party’s property. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction could result in an alleged offender’s vehicle being impounded for a considerable period of time.
Were you arrested or ticketed for an alleged criminal trespass offense in Westerville, Columbus, Dublin, or a surrounding area of Franklin County, Ohio? It will be important for you to make sure that you retain legal counsel for help fighting the criminal charges.
Sabol | Mallory will be able to conduct an independent investigation into your case to determine all of the evidence that the prosecutor has and then work to determine the strongest possible defense against the charges. You can have our firm review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(A), no person, without privilege to do so, can do any of the following:
● Knowingly enter or remain on the land or premises of another;
● 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;
● 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;
● 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.
Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(B) establishes that it is not a defense to a criminal trespass charge that the land or premises involved was owned, controlled, or in custody of a public agency. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(C), it is also not a defense that the alleged offender was authorized to enter or remain on the land or premises involved, when such authorization was secured by deception.
Criminal trespass is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This means that a conviction is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $250.
Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(D)(2) states that notwithstanding Ohio Revised Code § 2929.28, if the alleged offender, in committing a criminal trespass violation, used a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle, the court must impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation.
Ohio Revised Code § 2929.28 applies to financial sanctions for misdemeanors. The statute provides that in addition to imposing court costs pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2947.23, the court imposing a sentence upon an alleged offender for a misdemeanor, including a minor misdemeanor, can sentence the alleged offender to any financial sanction or combination of financial sanctions authorized under this section.
If the court in its discretion imposes one or more financial sanctions, the financial sanctions that may be imposed pursuant to this section include, but are not limited to, the following:
● Unless the misdemeanor offense is a minor misdemeanor or could be disposed of by the traffic violations bureau serving the court under Traffic Rule 13, restitution by the offender to the victim of the offender's crime or any survivor of the victim, in an amount based on the victim's economic loss. The court may not impose restitution as a sanction pursuant to this division if the offense is a minor misdemeanor or could be disposed of by the traffic violations bureau serving the court under Traffic Rule 13. If the court requires restitution, the court shall order that the restitution be made to the victim in open court or to the adult probation department that serves the jurisdiction or the clerk of the court on behalf of the victim. If the court imposes restitution, the court shall determine the amount of restitution to be paid by the offender. If the court imposes restitution, the court may base the amount of restitution it orders on an amount recommended by the victim, the offender, a presentence investigation report, estimates or receipts indicating the cost of repairing or replacing property, and other information, provided that the amount the court orders as restitution shall not exceed the amount of the economic loss suffered by the victim as a direct and proximate result of the commission of the offense. If the court imposes restitution for the cost of accounting or auditing done to determine the extent of economic loss, the court may order restitution for any amount of the victim's costs of accounting or auditing provided that the amount of restitution is reasonable and does not exceed the value of property or services stolen or damaged as a result of the offense. If the court decides to impose restitution, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing on restitution if the offender, victim, or survivor disputes the amount of restitution. If the court holds an evidentiary hearing, at the hearing the victim or survivor has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the amount of restitution sought from the offender. All restitution payments shall be credited against any recovery of economic loss in a civil action brought by the victim or any survivor of the victim against the offender. No person may introduce evidence of an award of restitution under this section in a civil action for purposes of imposing liability against an insurer under Ohio Revised Code § 3937.18. If the court imposes restitution, the court may order that the offender pay a surcharge, of not more than five per cent of the amount of the restitution otherwise ordered, to the entity responsible for collecting and processing restitution payments. The victim or survivor may request that the prosecutor in the case file a motion, or the offender may file a motion, for modification of the payment terms of any restitution ordered. If the court grants the motion, it may modify the payment terms as it determines appropriate.
● A fine of the type described in divisions (A)(2)(a) and (b) of this section payable to the appropriate entity as required by law.
● Reimbursement by the offender of any or all of the costs of sanctions incurred by the government, including, but not limited to, the following: All or part of the costs of implementing any community control sanction, including a supervision fee under Ohio Revised Code § 2951.021; All or part of the costs of confinement in a jail or other residential facility, including, but not limited to, a per diem fee for room and board, the costs of medical and dental treatment, and the costs of repairing property damaged by the offender while confined; All or part of the cost of purchasing and using an immobilizing or disabling device, including a certified ignition interlock device, or a remote alcohol monitoring device that a court orders an offender to use under Ohio Revised Code § 4510.13.
When an alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more criminal trespass violations or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, and the alleged 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, can 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 60 days. In such a case, Ohio Revised Code § 4519.47 applies.
Notwithstanding any provision of the Revised Code, Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(E) establishes that if the alleged offender, in committing the criminal trespass violation, used an all-purpose vehicle, the clerk of the court must pay the fine imposed pursuant to this section to the state recreational vehicle fund created by Ohio Revised Code § 4519.11.
Ohio Revised Code § 4519.01(B) defines an all-purpose vehicle as meaning any self-propelled vehicle designed primarily for cross-country travel on land and water, or on more than one type of terrain, and steered by wheels or caterpillar treads, or any combination thereof, including vehicles that operate on a cushion of air, vehicles commonly known as all-terrain vehicles, all-season vehicles, mini-bikes, and trail bikes. All-purpose vehicle does not include a utility vehicle as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 4501.01 or any vehicle principally used in playing golf, any motor vehicle or aircraft required to be registered under Chapter 4503 or 4561 of the Ohio Revised Code, and any vehicle excepted from definition as a motor vehicle by division (B) of Ohio Revised Code § 4501.01.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 4519.01(I), an off-highway motorcycle is defined as every motorcycle, as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 4511.01, that is designed to be operated primarily on lands other than a street or highway. Ohio Revised Code § 2911.21(2) defines land or premises as including any land, building, structure, or place belonging to, controlled by, or in custody of another, and any separate enclosure or room, or portion thereof.
What you need to know about landowner liability, trespassing laws — Read this Ohio Farm Bureau article about trespassing laws. The article discusses five things to know about Ohio’s trespassing and landowner liability laws. You can also find additional landowner information.
State v. Newell, 93 Ohio App.3d 609 (1994) — Charles Newell had a sister who lived in a Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority ("CMHA") project in Millvale and had been warned by a police officer, acting as agent for CMHA, on two occasions prior to his arrest that his privilege to be on this property was restricted to being with his sister, in her house, or coming or going from the parking lot where she lived. A police officer saw him standing on the sidewalk in the area of Millvale Circle with a group of men and cited him for criminal trespass in violation, which a trial court found him guilty of. The Court of Appeals of Ohio in Hamilton County stated, “What we have in this case, however, is simply a failure of proof by the state of one of the essential elements of the offense with which defendant was charged” and reversed the judgment.
If you were arrested for an alleged criminal trespass offense in Columbus or a surrounding area of Franklin County, you should take the criminal charges seriously. Do not let a misdemeanor conviction cause you numerous problems in life later on.
Sabol | Mallory will be able to defend you against the criminal charges you are facing and we will fight to get them thrown out. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to have our firm examine your case more closely during a free consultation.