The act of trespassing—entering another person’s property without permission—is a misdemeanor offense. Though trespassing charges may seem minor, you should not underestimate the potential consequences of a criminal conviction.
If you wish to fight your criminal charges, reach out to an Omaha trespassing lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled criminal lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s assertions by presenting evidence or utilize one of the affirmative defenses to trespassing.
Degrees of Trespassing Charges in Omaha
State law defines trespassing as entering buildings or property without permission; there are no distinctions for trespassing into vehicles or onto unenclosed or unmarked land. State law also defines two degrees of trespassing, both of which are misdemeanors.
Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-521, a person commits criminal trespass in the second degree if he or she enters or remains on someone else’s property knowing he or she has neither the license nor the privilege to do so. The defendant must also have violated direct instructions from the property owner, indirect instructions from clearly visible signage, or fencing designed to keep out intruders. Second-degree trespassing is a Class III misdemeanor punishable by $500 in fines and up to three months in jail.
However, if you defied the property owner’s direct order to leave, the second-degree trespassing offense becomes a Class II misdemeanor. In that case, the maximum possible sanctions upon conviction would increase to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
First Degree Criminal Trespassing
Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-520, criminal trespassing in the first degree entails entering or remaining in any part of a secured or occupied building without license or privilege. The statute also defines this crime as entering or remaining in a public power infrastructure facility without the consent of someone with license or privilege to be in that facility.
Because first-degree trespassing is a Class I misdemeanor, a conviction could lead to one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine. Whether you are facing a first or second-degree offense, a conviction can negatively impact your future. If law enforcement recently charged you with trespassing, talk to a local attorney who can help you fight your charges.
Affirmative Defenses to Trespassing Allegations
Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-522 establishes four affirmative defenses to trespassing charges of either degree, though they have a limited application. According to this section of state law, a trespassing charge cannot result in conviction if any of the following circumstances apply:
- The building that the defendant allegedly trespassed inside was abandoned;
- The premises allegedly trespassed upon was open to the public at the time of the alleged offense, and the defendant entered or remained on the property legally in light of that status;
- The defendant was reasonably unaware that they were not allowed on the property in question; or
- The defendant was trying to navigate a nonpowered watercraft along a stream or river and had to remove the boat from the water and cross a restricted property to avoid an obstruction in the waterway.
An Omaha defense attorney familiar with trespassing charges can use one of these defenses if it is applicable in your case.
Seek Legal Help from an Omaha Trespassing Attorney
Regardless of the circumstances that led to your trespassing charges, it is crucial that you take your charges seriously. Even a single misdemeanor conviction could have severe consequences.
Consider meeting with an Omaha trespassing lawyer to discuss your legal options. The experienced Omaha trespassing attorneys at Berry Law can help you build an effective defense strategy for your case. Call today to schedule your confidential consultation.