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Trespassing on Campus
Just because a college or university is a public institution, it does not mean that everyone has access to every building or facility. Some people do not realize that students are not permitted in all areas. Some areas could be limited by how much space they have, or what is contained in the area. Faculty and staff areas, research labs and dormitories all fall under restricted areas. There is typically some kind of warning visible to students so that they know that an area if off limits. If a student ignores this warning and enters anyway, they are now trespassing.
There are a few different types of trespassing, and the repercussions increase with the severity. Most students do not realize just how seriously trespassing can be taken by school and local authorities. Any of the following types can lead to fines, criminal charges and even prison:
- Simple Trespassing
A sign does not need to be present for an individual to be accused of simple trespassing. If they enter an area with the intent of vandalism, arson, or threatening the owner or individuals inside, then they can be charged with this offense. This charge can be added to other violations of the law and lead to dire consequences for the accused.
- Defiantly Trespassing
If a student has already been informed not to enter, and then continues to do so, they can be charged with defiant trespassing. Many students do not realize that this type of trespassing is a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and that they can suffer severe repercussions, including hefty fines and up to five years in prison.
- Felony Trespassing
If an area is secured, or it has been proven that the accused broke into it and then proceeded to trespass, they can face a felony charge that could land them in prison for up to seven years.
How Can Trespassing Affect Me on Campus?
Local authorities and the college will work closely together to identify the perpetrator. If they find the student, the repercussions within the school and the legal system are high. Schools may suspend or expel, and even if a student is able to continue attending their classes, they will have to juggle court cases and fines. Even if a criminal conviction isn’t reached, students often find themselves overwhelmed and their academic pursuits greatly suffer. If the accused is found guilty, they will have it noted on their permanent record and face fines and imprisonment.
Manchester & Associates Defense
Trespassing is not a minor or “fun” endeavor for anyone. Students who are accused can loose academic and career opportunities, and face fines and imprisonment. The stakes are high, even with minor offenses. Contact Manchester & Associates today for help if you have been accused trespassing. An experienced attorney can help you preserve your academic and professional careers while protecting your rights.