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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 25938
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My boyfriend has court today here in columbiana alabama

Customer Question

My boyfriend has court today here in columbiana alabama for 3rd degree trespassing a apartment complex which there's no proff of .
There was a warrant for his arrest cops arrested him at work. I'm worried what will happen? Will he go to jail?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
Criminal trespass in the third degree in Alabama is only a violation. You can see that for yourself here on the statute:
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/7/1/13A-7-4
This is the criminal equivalent of a traffic ticket. Crimes are misdemeanors and felonies. A violation is a criminal offense because it's under the penal code. But it is still just an infraction and something less than a crime. It would carry a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200.
If your boyfriend has no previous criminal history, he should be able to resolve this case without jail. It's a very low-level, non-violent offense and there would be no reason to incarcerate him for it. If he wanted to dispose of the matter, he could likely pay a fine.
When he comes before the judge at his arraignment, he needs to plead NOT guilty when the judge first asks him how he pleads. That's the only plea that he can make that will keep all of his rights open so that he can fight the case if he wants to and move it eventually to trial or negotiate a favorable deal if he'd rather not go to trial. He can also put the case off for another date for him to come back with a lawyer.
You can always take back a not guilty plea and plead guilty later on, but it doesn't work the other way around. Once he pleads guilty, he's going to be stuck with that. So he needs to plead not guilty first and see what either he or his lawyer can work out.
Ideally, he wants something here that not only will keep him out of jail but will keep his record clean. That may have to be negotiated. Even though this is not a serious matter and even though jail is unlikely, a conviction in criminal court can have lifetime consequences. So it's best that he has a lawyer on his court date to provide the best possible damage control for him.

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