Trespassing and unlawful entry are both class one misdemeanors. The maximum penalty is one (1) year in jail and up to a $2500 fine. Trespass can come in many forms but the most common is to go onto the property posted against trespass or returning to property that you have been given notice not to return to. Unlawful entry is entering property for the purpose of damaging the property or interfering with the lawful use of the property by the rightful owner of the property.
Many of these cases involve homeless persons who are attempting to use the property as shelter from the weather. Another frequent reason for this charge is returning to a store where you have been convicted of a theft offense and ordered not to return to the property. There are an endless number of other circumstances where this charge might be brought.
There are defenses to these offenses. Among them is failure to give proper notice not to return to the property depending on the circumstances. No trespass notices posted. Being invited onto the property and others.
If there is no valid defense to these charges there is an alternative to conviction. Trespassing is somewhat unique because it has built into the statute a provision for a dismissal of the charge under certain conditions. Generally, the disposition of the case can be delayed and if there are no further violations the matter can be dismissed after a period of time.
If the charge is unlawful entry, the charge can often be amended to trespassing and the trespassing disposition described above can be implemented. A consultation with an attorney can review options and determine what course of action would best address your circumstances.