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Trespassing on Ranch property Property Invasion, Damages, Trespass

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by Misha7869, May 3, 2018.

  1. Misha7869

    Misha7869 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hi,

    I was issued a ticket for trespassing PC 602 (h) (1) on 4.25.18 in Bakersfield.

    Back story:
    On 4.19.18 my brother called to tell me our father had unexpectedly passed away. As you could imagine I was pretty distraught and had/having a hard time coming to terms with it. On the 25th I told my school professors what happened and finally took the day off school to try and clear my head. I ended up driving up the 5 from LA towards Sacramento (where my father and brother live) and remembered about these beautiful hills off the 5 right on the grape vine. So got off one of the highway exites, pulled over to the side by one of these hills, jumpped a fence and proceeded to walk up the hill to watch the sunset. (Where I jumpped the fence, I did not see any no traspassing signes). As I proceeded up he hill I noticed a trail, but continued off of it up the hill. After watching the sunset, I went back down but this time took the dirt path. When I got back to my car, there were two officers waiting. They explained to me that this land is a ranch and I was traspassing. I told them exactly what I did, but they wrote me the ticket anyway. Though they were apologetic for my father's passing...

    Now my dilemma is, this ticket is a misdemeanor and I'm not sure if I should hire an attorney or go in, plead not guilty and explain myself.

    Any advice will help.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You jumped the fence. A fence means private property, do not enter. You've been charged with a crime. Hire a lawyer. Explaining yourself in court will likely get you convicted. You do not want a misdemeanor on your record.

    That being said, there are so many sections of the trespassing statute that's it's difficult to comment on whether you have a defense or not.

    What, exactly, is the statute number and section written on your citation?
     
  3. Misha7869

    Misha7869 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The ticket just says PC 602 (h) (1)
     
  4. Misha7869

    Misha7869 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Entering upon lands or buildings owned by any other person without the license of the owner or legal occupant, where signs forbidding trespass are displayed, and whereon cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, fowl, or any other animal is being raised, bred, fed, or held for the purpose of food for human consumption; or injuring, gathering, or carrying away any animal being housed on any of those lands, without the license of the owner or legal occupant; or damaging, destroying, or removing, or causing to be removed, damaged, or destroyed, any stakes, marks, fences, or signs intended to designate the boundaries and limits of any of those lands
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  6. Misha7869

    Misha7869 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Will do!

    Do I need an attorney for the initial hearing, where I plead not guilty? I don't assume there will be bail set or anything will there?
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    1. Most places do NOT have proper signage for the statute to apply. If you go back to the area you can record a video or take pictures of any "No trespass" signs that are posted. There should be a sign at every entrance to the property and no fewer than 3 per mile along the boundary. If you check the area where you jumped the fence and find less than 3 per mile then you can make that argument and possibly beat the charge.

    2. The statute won't apply if there were no live animals being raised on the property and you did not cause any damage. did you see any cattle or other livestock in the area you entered? If not then you have an argument to make in court. If you did not see livestock then the officers likely did not either. If the signage is not done properly then it won't matter if there was livestock.

    I bet the officers cited you simply because you were there and a complaint was made. Personally I would obtain legal counsel and defend against this.

    It does not matter that you willingly jumped a fence. The statute only considers the issues I've noted here.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The sooner you obtain legal counsel the better, but no- you could go to an arraignment without an attorney as that is typically the time when a person requests counsel to be appointed. If you can afford your own then don't wait. If you go without then don't say anything in court other than "I don't know", "I don't understand", "I'm confused", or "I need an attorney".
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Just plead NOT guilty, and the court will instruct you further.

    Your attorney won't need to be present at the initial hearing.

    If anyone asks you about the case, simply say, "Sorry, I stand on my constitutional right not to incriminate myself. I am only here to enter a my not guilty plea."

    In fact, some people stand mute (they say nothing or they say, I STAND MUTE, Your Honor) when asked how they plea, and the court is required to enter a NOT guilty plea.

    You won't need to do that, just plead not guilty, and the hearing will be over in about two minutes for you (not counting the time you wait to get called).
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever stolen a car because there were no "no stealing" signs on the car? Have you ever killed another person because that person wasn't wearing a "no killing" t-shirt? Did you think the fence was just there for decoration?

    Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of every page at this site regarding legal advice.

    All I can do is tell you that PC 602 provides that "every person who willfully commits a trespass by any of the following acts is guilty of a misdemeanor: . . . (h)(1) Entering upon lands or buildings owned by any other person without the license of the owner or legal occupant, where signs forbidding trespass are displayed, and whereon cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, fowl, or any other animal is being raised, bred, fed, or held for the purpose of food for human consumption."

    If you plead not guilty, the state will have the burden of proving that, in addition to trespassing, which you admitted: (1) you did it willfully; (2) signs forbidding trespass were displayed; and (3) that some sort of animal was being raised, bred, fed, or held on the property for the purpose of food for human consumption. Based on what you've told us, the state will have a difficult or impossible time proving the first and second of these things. That being said, just because you didn't see a "no trespassing" sign doesn't mean one wasn't there.
     
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    That's not accurate. Damage is not necessary. The portions of 602(h)(1) regarding damage are in the disjunctive.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Damage to property is covered in this and other subsections.
    So long as there was no damage, no animals, or inadequate signage PC 602 as a whole won't fly.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    army judge likes this.

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