Many people make the assumption that just because a university or college is public that all parts of a facility are open to everyone. This is not the case. In fact, there are specific areas on school campuses that aren't even made accessible to all students who attend that school. For example, not all students are permitted to enter certain research labs, dormitories, computer labs and places reserved for staff due to a number of reasons such as space and limited resources. In these spaces, there is usually a sign or any other form of a warning that notifies students not to enter. In the event that this warning is disregarded, this is known as the act of trespassing.
Types of Trespassing
Some people tend to underestimate the potential severity of the crime of trespassing. Although a simple trespassing offense is typically a misdemeanor in many states, there are states like Pennsylvania, that charge based on several different types of trespassers. The following types of trespassing could land a college student a criminal record, hefty fines, and even time spent in prison:
This is the most common form of trespassing. Someone violates this law when they enter a place that they are not privileged to occupy in an effort to threaten an owner or occupant, start a fire or vandalizing property. In some states, no sign has to be present in order for one to be charged with this offense.
Defiant trespassing occurs when a person enters or occupies a property after they are giving notice not to enter. This crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and is punishable by up to five years spent in prison and costly fines.
In some states, trespassing could be a felony offense. However, this charge is acquired when it is proven that the accused has broken onto the property that they have trespassed, or if the area is considered secure. In Pennsylvania, a person could be penalized with up to 7 years spent in prison.
How Can Trespassing Affect My Standing as a Student of the College?
School authorities oftentimes collaborate with local law enforcement to identify a student who has been suspected of committing a crime. Once a student is identified, the repercussions can be dire. Schools may carry out disciplinary actions by suspending or expelling a student from its campus, while legal obligations, such as attending court and paying fines could interfere with a student's academic standing. The legal ramifications of committing this offense include paying a large fine, that could put a student even further in debt and be going to prison.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
Contrary to popular belief, trespassing charges are not minor. A conviction for this crime could lead to a criminal record, which would be seen by future employers, government aid agencies, and school acceptance committees. Don't allow this charge to ruin your professional reputation before it starts. If you have been accused of trespassing, contact skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento today.