Trespass after forbidden is an odd name for a crime, but it is a crime in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Though trespassing may sound trivial, it can have some unexpected consequences.
Oklahoma values property rights and an owner has the right, in large part, to dictate who may and may not come onto their property. As such, when you see a “no trespassing” sign, an Oklahoma landowner means it. Problems happen when a person ignores that warning.
Trespass After Forbidden Defined
Trespass after forbidden is defined as the malicious or willful entry onto another’s garden, yard, pasture, or field after being expressly forbidden to do so or without the permission of the owner or occupant. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1835
To willfully enter, especially after being warned not to, amounts to criminal trespass. Trespass after forbidden is a misdemeanor offense in Oklahoma. You could be fined up to $250 for a first offense.
No trespassing signs give notice that entry is forbidden. These signs must be conspicuously posted at all entry points to the property, whether the property is fenced or unfenced.
Legally, if you enter in spite of having been warned not to, a willful entry will be presumed. This allows the prosecutor to prove intent.
Entering the property and causing or attempting to cause damage, theft, or waste on that property is also a crime. This can happen when a trespasser cuts down plants or shrubbery, dumps trash on the property, damages the fence making the entry, or causes any other damage to the property.
Trespass after forbidden is punishable by a fine between $50 and $500, 30 to 180 days in jail, or both.
Other Types of Criminal Trespass
Entering another person’s pecan grove without permission is also criminal trespass. It carries a fine of $25.
Though this may sound like a trivial fine, if you are cited for the crime, it is best not to ignore it. The failure to appear and pay the fine can lead to a bench warrant for your arrest.
Entry onto another person’s farming, ranching, or forestry property without the express permission of the owner is also criminal trespass. This is true even if the owner did not post signs forbidding trespassers.
The crime is punishable by a fine between $500 and $1,500 and restitution for any damage done for a first offense. A subsequent offense is punishable by a fine between $1,500 and $2,500, 30 to 180 days in jail time, or both in addition to restitution for any damage caused.
This count of trespass becomes much more serious as soon as jail time becomes a possible consequence.
Some people are legally exempt. That means they cannot be charged with trespass for entering without permission.
Such people include police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and public utility employees who are addressing an emergency that presents an imminent danger to health, safety, or the like.
Other exempt personnel includes those enter with a legitimate reason such as land surveyors, professional engineers in the performance of their duties, delivery persons, and mail carriers.
Defenses Against Trespass After Forbidden
There are some defenses that may be available to you if you are being charged with this crime.
If you have permission to enter, then there is no unlawful entry. This may be true even if the permission is given by mistake or if a mistake is the reason for the entry.
Possible defenses should always be discussed with your attorney.
Any jail time can be difficult to deal with. If you are facing a charge of trespass after forbidden, you need the services of an experienced Sapulpa criminal defense lawyer.
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