What is the Law of Trespass in Massachusetts and what are the Punishments for it?Trespassing is not a new offense as it has its origin to the 13th century in the United States of America. However, the offense even today continues to be a serious issue in the country. The severity of the problem can be understood from the factor that at times the number of trespassers crosses a million annually in various courts across the nation.
At a trespass lawsuit, it is not compulsory for the plaintiff to establish that the accused had the intent to trespass. Rather, simply that the accused had the intent to do whatever led to the trespass. Hence, even when the trespasser believes by mistake that he/she did not do anything wrong, it is still possible for the affected person to prosecute them.
Trespassing in Massachusetts
Trespassing in Massachusetts involves an act of remaining or entering upon or in another person’s building, dwelling house, enclosed or improved land, boat, pier, or a wharf without the permission of the owner.
An act of trespassing can also include repairing or entering a school bus even after being told not to do by an authorized person having control over the property either by a notice, which was posted on the said property or directly.
Punishments for Trespassing in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts has put in place powerful property rights and the guilty can be punished by incarceration and fine. If convicted, the guilty have to pay a maximum fine of 100 USD and/or a maximum prison term of 30 days in Massachusetts.
Elements of Trespassing
However, the prosecution has to establish some of the essential elements listed below beyond their reasonable doubt to prove that the accused is guilty of an act of trespassing in the state:
1. The accused remained or entered in an enclosed land, boat, building, house, dwelling, or any other kind of property
2. The accused was told not to remain or enter by an individual who has the legal control of the properties by a posted notice or directly.
The state of Massachusetts considers trespass as a misdemeanor offense, which can arrest the accused by a constable, deputy sheriff, sheriff, or a cop. Also, the defendant can be held in custody until the time he/she is taken for arraignment to court. However, the statute excludes tenant situations and landlords when a tenant stays longer than his tenancy period. Some related trespass statutes in the case are trespassing with a vehicle and trespassing with firearms.
As mentioned earlier, the offense of trespassing includes severe legal punishments, which include the possibility of up to thirty days in prison, fines, restitution, probation, fees, as well as, other collateral consequences when the defendant is convicted in the court like loss of employment and certain licenses.
It is a serious charge and as such, the accused requires proper legal representation by a seasoned trespass crimes attorney in the state of Massachusetts. Some issues, which may pop up in a trespass lawsuit include the nature and location of the notice, which was posted by the person in charge or property owner. For example, did an appropriate notice exists, which was a reasonable distance? Also, was the notice that prohibiting trespass posted in a proper site? Did the parties have a landlord-tenant relationship between them?