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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 8775
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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I was charge ist degree misdemeanor a state

Customer Question

I was charge ist degree misdemeanor for trespassing a state property while fishing at the dam in Truman Lake in Missouri. I have a hearing at court tomorrow. I am worry. How should I plea?
JA: You're dealing with a tough issue. But don't worry -- you're in good hands. I know the lawyer has information that can help. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, I didn't think it was serious, until I realize the letter came from the court that trespassing is a crime.
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Lawyer can help you best.
Customer: On the weekend of 25th of March, the Men Ministry at New Life Hmong Alliance Church had plan to go on a weeken fellowship at Stockton Lake, Misssouri. We plan to fish in the morning of Saturday, and then come back to sing song to praise the Lord, and learn the God's WOrds together. We heard that there were good fishing up in Truman Lake Dam. So we went there to fish early in the morning about five o'clock. We did catch any fish, but there was a hot spot under a sign, "Restricted Area, Keep Out," Below this sign, there were four-five people fishing, and they kept catching fish. Two men in the middle left their spots. A thought came to me to take a spot there and try my luck, but to their fishing gears and poles were still there. I didn't want to be rude and take their spot. Beyond the last man stand below the sign, there were couple of spots about ten feet away. There were no line or fence below the sign. The fence and the sign was bove. I was so into fishing and wanted to make some catch, I was not aware of the sign above me, I went beside the last fisherman, over about ten feet. I fished for about a good 20 minutes or so, and a ranger came to me to reel up my line, ask for my fishing permit and ID. He held on to my licenses, told me, he will deal with after he had check other fishermen. After he had checked them, he ask me to go to his truck, there he said that I have trespass, and charged me for trespassing.
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Customer: can you be more specific?
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
Hi, My name is*****'m an attorney with 15 years vigorous courtroom practice experience, and I would like to assist you in answering your question. My response is for information and education, and not as legal advice and we do not form an attorney/client relationship. Here is the crime that you were charged with: Trespass in the first degree. 569.140. 1. A person commits the crime of trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure or upon real property.2. A person does not commit the crime of trespass in the first degree by entering or remaining upon real property unless the real property is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders or as to which notice against trespass is given by:(1) Actual communication to the actor; or(2) Posting in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders.3. Trespass in the first degree is a class B misdemeanor. After reviewing the statute, answer these questions:Did you enter a fenced or enclosed area?Was the sign posted in a manner reasonably likely to come to your attention?If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you likely committed the crime. However, there should not be any harm in going to court and entering a plea of "not guilty." Then, you can see if you can get a public defender, who is an attorney that is lower cost provided by the State of Missouri. It is possible the public defender might be able to have you plea guilty to a lesser charge, like criminal mischief, and/or enter a plea agreement wherein if you commit no crimes for a period of time, the charge might be dismissed. So if I were you, I would enter a "not guilty" plea. If you do not have much money, you might qualify for a public defender. You can get more information on Missouri's public defender representation here: I am so sorry you are going through this. But I hope that I have helped. Does this answer your question?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was no enclosed below the sign post, but the sign is reasonably posted to my attention in about 10-20 feet back. When I went to the fishing spot that the two men had left, I was under the sign post, so I must have not see it, nor did I pay attention to it when I was on my way to the two men spots.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the information. It helps a little. I have not been in any court case, so I am nervous.
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
I am unsure if you are stating that there was no fence at all, or if you are stating that there was a fence, but you did not go into the fenced area. Was there a fenced area that was designed to keep people out of there? If there was no fence, then you are likely not guilty. If you did not go into the fenced area, you are likely not guilty. If there was a fence, but the fence was not set up in a manner designed to keep intruders out, then you are likely not guilty. Does that help?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fence and sign post are above the fishing spot along the bank of the water discharge from the dam.
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately, I cannot telephone you at the moment. It is too late and my family is asleep.So, if you were not inside the fenced in area, then I believe you have a valid reason to dispute the charges and plead not guilty. I'm trying to find out if I've answered your question? Tomorrow's court date, if it is your first court appearance, will likely just be a short appearance where the judge calls your case, you walk up, the judge tells you what you are charged of, and asks you how you want to plead. You will say "not guilty." And the judge will likely ask if you have an attorney or if you want the public defender appointed. I know you are nervous, but just enter your plea of not guilty and then see if you can get either an attorney or the public defender. They will try their best to get you a better deal than pleading guilty.Does that answer your question?
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
Let me know if I've answered your question. Your original question was "I have a hearing at court tomorrow. I am worry. How should I plea?" Plea "not guilty." Does this answer your original question? Please type in your response and let me know.