Criminal Trespass in Maryland

In the State of Maryland, entering another person’s property without his or her consent can be considered trespass. A person may be criminally charged with trespass if he or she recklessly enters private property or if he or she enters private property that has posted signs without permission.

Criminal charges for trespass are very common. Accidentally hunting across private lines, sneaking into a store after hours, or sneaking into a neighbor’s pool are all forms of trespass. Most of these cases do not involve an intent to steal or vandalize another person’s property.

Attorney for Criminal Trespass in Baltimore, Maryland

If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal trespass in Baltimore, Maryland, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights.

Our attorneys have more than three decades of experience combined. If you are looking for attorneys who are more than able to handle any criminal manner and provide the best possible defense, then contact us.

James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates takes cases throughout Maryland. We have two offices conveniently located in Catonsville and Arbutus, Maryland. We also take cases in Baltimore County, and in the surrounding areas of Carroll County, Harford County, Ann Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland.

Trespass on Private Property under Maryland Statute § 6-403(A)

Section § 6-403(A) of the Maryland Criminal Statutes outlines the elements of criminal trespass on private property. To be charged with criminal trespass, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:

  • that the defendant wantonly crossed over, entered, the private property or boarded the vessel of another without permission;
  • that the owner or the owner’s agent gave notice of the private property, boat or vessel; and
  • that the defendant was notified not to enter or cross over the private property or board the vessel of another; and
  • that the defendant did not enter or cross the private property under a good faith claim of right or ownership.

Trespass on Private Property with a Sign

An individual does not always have to be told that he or she cannot enter private property. In some instances, owners post signs that say “private property” or “do not enter” to discourage unauthorized visitors.

If a person enters private property that has posted signs against entry, then he or she can be criminally charged with trespass in Maryland. To convict a person of trespass under § 6-402, the State must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt;

  • that the property was posted or marked in an obvious manner against entry; and
  • that the defendant entered the property without permission.

Remaining on Private Property in Maryland

A person may also be charged with trespass if he or she remains on private property beyond their allowed time. To prove trespass under Section § 6-403(B), the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt the following:

  • that the defendant was given notice by the owner or the owner’s agent of the private property or boat;
  • that the defendant was notified not to remain on the private property or vessel, and
  • that the defendant remained on the private property or vessel of another without permission.

Maryland Statute § 6-409 for Trespass on a Business

Section 6-409(b) if the Maryland Statutes outline the elements of trespassing on business property during business hours.  In order to convict a person of trespass on business during business hours, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:

  • that the defendant was requested to leave a public building or the grounds of public building;
  • that the request to leave was made by an authorized employee;
  • that the defendant refused to leave the building or grounds; and
  • that the defendant had no lawful business to pursue at the time, was acting in a disruptive or disturbing manner to the normal business of the government agency that operated the building or grounds.

Maryland Statute § 6-409(a) for Trespass on a Business After Hours

After a business closes, patrons no longer have the right to be on the property without the owner, or owner’s agent’s permission. Given this, a person may be convicted of criminal trespass in Maryland for being on the property after hours. To convict a person of criminal trespass on business property after hours, the State must show beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:

  • that the defendant, upon request, refused or failed to leave a public building or the grounds of a public agency or institution;
  • that the request to leave was made by a regular employed guard, watch person, or authorized employee of the public agency or institution;
  • that at the time of the request, the building or its grounds were closed to the public; and
  • that the defendant had no lawful business to pursue at that time.

Penalties for Criminal Trespass in Maryland

An individual who violates the Maryland trespass statutes is guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty for violation is as follows:

  • a first offense is punishable by up to ninety (90) days in jail and up to $500 in fines;
  • a second conviction that occurs within two years after the first is punishable by up to six (6) months in prison and up to $1,000 fines; and
  • for each subsequent convictions that occur within two (2) years, punishment is up to one (1) year in prison and up to $2,500 fines.

Additional Resources

Maryland Statute § 6-403 –Visit the official website of the Maryland General Assembly to find the full statutory language of the criminal trespass on private property statute. Also, find more information about other Maryland criminal statutes for trespass including trespass on property with posted signs and trespass on business property.

Find an Attorney for Criminal Trespass in Baltimore County, Maryland

Often, people tread on another’s property by accident. Many people who are charged with criminal trespass are confused by the reasons behind these charges. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about criminal trespass to find out more about the kinds of defenses that may be available to you.

James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates has offices in Arbutus and Catonsville. The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates take throughout Baltimore County and in the following surrounding areas: Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Carroll County, Montgomery County, Harford County, and Kent County.