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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16614
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was given a trespass order to not go to a bar while inside

Customer Question

I was given a trespass order to not go to a bar while inside of another bar. I forgot I was not allowed in this bar and returned 2 weeks later. I was escorted out and given a notic to appear. How can I get out of this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-What city and state do you live in?
-What are the charges against you?

What type of notice were you given not to go to this bar?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The charge is listed as trespassing after warning. The city is Gulfport, Florida. This is what happend...I went to a bar and got in an arguement with the owner so I left. He called the police and they came and found me down the street at another bar and gave me a trespass order that says I can not come back to the bar I got an arguement at. I forgot about this and went back 2 weeks later and the police came and took me outside and I explained that I forgot but the guy wanted to have me prosecuted so they gave me a notice to appear. It is a misdemeanor
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.

DearCustomer- Well I cannot tell you that you can simply "get out" of this since you have been charged with a crime. What you need to do is not discuss the case with anyone and get an attorney. If you can't afford an attorney you should ask the court to appoint one. In any event you need to plead not guilty at your initial court appearance.

 

This will get your case into the court system and offer you a chance to talk to the prosecutor and the court to see if there is a chance for a dismissal or a reduction of the charges. There may also be an offer of some type of diversion to keep this from going on your record. Unless you have some prior criminal record you will most likely be eligible to have this expunged from your record at a later date but that is not a sure thing.

 

The fact that the police actually served you with a notice is not helpful when using the defense that you "forgot" since it would be hard to believe you would forget being served by the police. In any event the best course of action is to try to get the best plea deal possible since going to trial will most certainly result in a conviction.

 

As for possible penalties I doubt you would be sent to jail assuming you have no prior record. Generally this type of conviction results in a fine and probation and possible some community service. Once again, I can never guarantee what any court will do but it is more likely to get a more severe penalty if you take the case trial and lose rather than pleading to some lesser charge.

 

There just is no way to simply walk away from something like this so that is why I strongly urge you to get legal assistance to minimize the damage.

 

Dave Kennett

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can I get a public defender attorney for a misdameanor? Also I was charged with felony criminal mischief in high school and had it dropped and sealed. Will they see that? I also want to know about civil vs criminal trespassing. Since I did it unknowingly can they let it slide? Should I try to explain to the judge at my appearence what happend?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Customer

There is an absolute right to an attorney if you are a defendant charged with a crime, and it does not matter whether the charge is a misdemanor or a felony. Whether you are entitled to a free attorney, however, is determined by financial eligibility. What's eligible varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but if you believe that it would cause you an extreme hardship or be nearly impossible for you to afford to retain an attorney, you can tell the judge on your first court date (your arraignment) that you are without funds for counsel and will need the court to appoint a public defense lawyer. The judge may ask some questions of you to ascertain your eligibility, so be ready for that. But if he agrees that you lack the money to pay for a lawyer, he will appoint one.

Civil trespass is a cause of action in tort as and would be appropriate if the owner wanted to recover monetarily for damages someone caused after entering the premises without permission.

Criminal trespass results from your entering the premises without permission, period. No damages need occur. Whether you did it unknowingly -- a problematic defense as the previous expert has already mentioned -- is a question of fact that would be decided at trial, if you take it that far, once all the evidence was in.

The state has chosen to prosecute the matter and they will not just let it drop. They may, however, be willing to make you an offer to plead to a lesser charge that would not hurt your record (Yes, they could probably see your old high school matter, but no, it won't make a difference as to what kind of an offer you get here on a case like this). The very worst you'd be looking at on this matter would be probation.

No, you should not try to explain anything to the judge. In talking about the details of the case on the record, you are giving up your right to remain silent and what you say, even if you think it's not damaging, can and will be used against you. When asked how you plead, you should plead "Not guilty." This is what is always done, and you should maintain a position of not guilty until you've had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer and know all of your rights and choices. Then, if there's an offer you want, you will be allowed to take back your not guilty plea and enter a plea of guilty or no contest so that you can take the deal. On the other hand, if you don't like the terms of the offer, you can choose to go to trial and because you haven't said anything in court, you haven't restricted your defense in any way or tipped off your strategy to the opposition.

Good luck.

_____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. The reason I did not know I was trespassed is because I was given the trespass when i was blasted drunk and I never recieved a copy of anything so I did not remeber it. I left the bar without provication and was found later at another bar where I was served with a trespass order. I found this information from the police officer. I was unaware that I was trespassing and I was never asked to leave...In fact I was there for 2 hours b4 the owner called the cops and no one ever said I shouldn't be here etc. Would mistaken trespass work as a defense?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Customer

Being blind drunk would certainly be a reason not to remember and would probably be consistent with the argument you had and why you were asked to leave in the first place. Trespass is an intent crime in Pennsylvania. You have to know that you were not allowed to have been in there. You would have a defense. Note however, that having a defense does not mean the same thing as having a winning defense. In the end, it's going to be up to a jury. The state's burden would be to prove you didn't know you weren't allowed there beyond a reasonable doubt. If they believe that you may have been drunk enough not to remember that you were not allowed back (or which bar you were not allowed back to) then that could create a doubt and result in an acquittal on these charges.

Although trespass can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Pennsylvania depending on what section of the code is charged, it can also be a summary offense, which is less than a misdemeanor and therefore not a crime, even though it would show up on your record as a violation. So if offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a violation and not a crime, you may just want to pay the fine or do some community service and move on. On the other hand, if you show up you find that you are only accused of the violation you won't have a great deal to lose by rolling the dice and trying the case. Your lawyer can explain all of that to you, however, as summary offenses can have jail penalties, and your attorney, who will get to have at least some access to both sides of this story, could give you a better sense of your trial chances and likely sentence upon conviction than anyone could here..

_____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.


Edited by FranL on 11/2/2009 at 12:54 AM EST
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16614
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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