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Old 03-30-2009, 08:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Indiana Criminal Trespass Question

I was recently arrested for criminal trespassing in Indiana. Something seemed fishy about the charge, so I looked up the law and I do not believe I have broken it. Here is the portion of the law that I believe applies to my case;

(1) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally enters the real property of another person after having been denied entry by the other person or that person's agent;
(2) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally refuses to leave the real property of another person after having been asked to leave by the other person or that person's agent;
(4) knowingly or intentionally interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without the person's consent;

I and two friends were parked in a small place just off the road in the countryside. I was sitting in the back with my door open. My two friends began smoking marijuana of which I did not partake. Just as we were about to leave a police officer drove in behind us, arrested us all at gunpoint, charged the driver with DWI, possession, and criminal trespass, charged my other friend with possession and trespass, and me only with criminal trespass.

After we were arrested I was told I was being charged with criminal trespass, being naive and a first time offender I assumed I had actually broken the law.

I am a dean's list college student and have never had problems with the law before. I am hoping I can get an opinion on if I have broken Indiana criminal trespass law or not. There were no "no trespassing" signs around the area we were in, I had also never been denied entry or asked to leave nor did I even know whose property it was (there was a lot of trash around so I assumed it was something of a dump).

Thank you for your time.

Last edited by JamesC; 03-30-2009 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have successfully prosecuted someone for trespass ONLY because there were clearly marked NO TRESPASSING SIGNS.

It became criminal trespass because of the drugs and possession charge.

Have you been to court? If not, point out that there was nothing to designate it as personal property, there were no keep out signs or any other such thing. You very well may be acquitted.
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Last edited by GentleGrace; 03-30-2009 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have court early tomorrow morning.

Thank you for the advice, I will point out to the judge that the property was not clearly marked.

I suppose my defense will be that there were no "no trespassing" signs to indicate it was private property, that I had never been denied entry or asked to leave, and I will also ask for the proof that I interfered with the use of or possession of the property.

The only problem is how open the fourth subsection seems to be to interpretation. I suppose I could have possibly "interfered" with the use of the land by just sitting in a car on it. It seems to be a weak case though. Also it wasn't my intention to interfere with anything at all, had I known I was interfering with the use I would have left. Could my lack of intention or knowledge that I was interfering help my case?

The few other court cases that I could find that were prosecuted under subsection 4 all had the land owner prosecuting someone and there was clear evidence that they knowingly/intentionally interfered with the use of the property.

Thank you for your time.

Last edited by JamesC; 03-30-2009 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Let me know how this turns out. I feel you have a good chance of beating this. The only ting, obviously, that is working against you is that the others with you who were charged with possession MAY make the judge feel as though since it was your intent to be WITH them while THEY (not you) did something illegal, he may be looking for ANYTHING to, as it were, stick it to you for simply BEING with people using drugs. Lots of renegade judges out there. I don't really see, from a legal standpoint where criminal trespass applies to you, unless he argues guilty by association.

Good luck and please, let me know how you fare.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, just thought I would update you. I went to court this morning to find that they had no idea who I was, my name was not in any of their databases or paperwork. The prosecutor told me to call in a few weeks to see if something had changed.

They told my friend (the driver) that the police had not filed any report with them.

So I suppose all is well for a few weeks more.

Thank you again.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
Hey, just thought I would update you. I went to court this morning to find that they had no idea who I was, my name was not in any of their databases or paperwork. The prosecutor told me to call in a few weeks to see if something had changed.

They told my friend (the driver) that the police had not filed any report with them.

So I suppose all is well for a few weeks more.

Thank you again.

Ah! A two edged sword----relief but wondering what happened!?
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah I am going to call every week just to make sure if anything has changed. I have problems receiving mail sometimes and I would hate to be subpoenaed and not get the notice.

I talked to my other friend and he said that they had nothing on him either.

I asked the prosecutor how often this happens and she said it is somewhat rare.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yeah I am going to call every week just to make sure if anything has changed. I have problems receiving mail sometimes and I would hate to be subpoenaed and not get the notice.

I talked to my other friend and he said that they had nothing on him either.

I asked the prosecutor how often this happens and she said it is somewhat rare.
At the time of the incident, did you receive a ticket, or summons at that time? If so they are usually in triplicate, green yellow and pink. So those other copies are out there somewhere!!!

It concerns me that the other guy didn't get one either. Now, had just YOU not gotten one, I wouldn't be worried because you weren't charged the same. But since both your and the guy who was charged with possession are missing, I'd say the cop is going to find them on his desk soon.
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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After we were all arrested we got a paper that was a release on recognizance information form with a hearing date for me of March 31 at 8:30 am. When they said they couldn't find anything on me I showed them this paper and they told me to talk to the prosecutor, the prosecutor told me to call them later cause she had nothing. My two friends also got the exact same recognizance paper.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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After we were all arrested we got a paper that was a release on recognizance information form with a hearing date for me of March 31 at 8:30 am. When they said they couldn't find anything on me I showed them this paper and they told me to talk to the prosecutor, the prosecutor told me to call them later cause she had nothing. My two friends also got the exact same recognizance paper.
Yeah, a PR bond. This means that the arrest was recorded. You can rest assured it will rear its ugly head again. There ARE other copies of that paper out there. And, of course, if YOU make a mistake and don't appear, you will be found guilty in your absence (even if it wasn't your fault you did not appear) BUT when YOU appear and THEY do not or THEY cannot prosecute you as a result of their being unprepared, you DONT get off scott free. The "big guys" get "do overs"---you don't.

Did you ask for a dismissal of the charges based on the fact they did not have a case against you?? If you haven't I WOULD.
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