The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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Understanding Criminal Trespass in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Defense

criminal trespass, misdemeanors, Elgin criminal defense attorneyThere are two different types of trespass under Illinois law. Civil trespass can get you sued in court. Criminal trespass can land you in jail and leave you with a criminal record. What is the difference?

Criminal Trespass Defined

Civil trespass often involves landlord-tenant situations. If a renter stops paying rent, the police will not arrest them unless the landlord has gone through the eviction process and other formalities are met. In most cases, municipal police will not even get involved.

Criminal trespass occurs when you enter a building illegally, enter private property after being warned to stay away, or staying on private property after being asked to leave.

Examples of criminal trespass include:

  • Entering a vacant house without the permission of the owner
  • Cutting across someone’s property even though there are "no trespassing" signs posted
  • Going to a party and not leaving after being asked by the owners of the house

Penalties for Criminal Trespass

Criminal trespass is either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. The maximum penalty is a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for a Class A misdemeanor and six months in jail for a Class B Misdemeanor.

First time offenders may not face any jail time, or only a few days. However, even if no jail time is ordered, once you are convicted of criminal trespass, you have a permanent criminal record. This can interfere with your ability to get a job or even impact certain professional licenses.

Defenses to Criminal Trespass

If you are charged with a crime, you have options. You have a constitutional right to defend yourself against the charges.

One of the most common defenses to this crime is to attack the concept of notice. The prosecution will usually have to prove that the defendant had notice that entry to the property was forbidden or that the defendant had notice that they had to exit the premises. If the defense can show there was no notice, or the notice was inadequate, the defendant will be acquitted.

Another defense is to show that the defendant had a right to be on the property or had permission to be on the property.

Each case is unique and the defenses available will depend on the facts of the case.

Have been accused or charged with a crime? Don’t talk to anyone about the details of your case until you have spoken with a tough and experienced Elgin criminal defense lawyer. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule a consultation at the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today. Get your case started off on the right foot.


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