"Criminal Trespass" is a class A misdemeanor if it takes place in an occupied structure, a secured premise, after an order to leave or in violation of a court order restraining you from entering. Therefore, you can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail, $2,000.00 fine and up to 2 years’ probation. It can also, by discretion of the prosecutor, be charged as a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to$1,200.00. Although class B misdemeanors do not carry a jail sentence, they are criminal charges and if convicted you have a criminal record. (Even a violation level conviction appears on the public record and cannot be removed for a minimum of one year after the date of conviction. Also note that no charge ever automatically comes off your record. A petition to annul, or remove the offense from the public record, must be filed and approved by the Court in order to have a charge removed from the public record.)
Criminal arrests can trigger serious consequences for UNH and college-age students. Local arrests of UNH students often a result in a mandatory disciplinary meeting with your Dean’s office, a possible loss of scholarships, a loss of study abroad privileges, and a possible suspension from the University. Criminal convictions can also have serious impacts on future employment opportunities.
After arrest, most defendants will have their bail set by a bail commissioner and the paperwork, called “Bond In Criminal Case”, will indicate a court date. (This is often the only paperwork you have when leaving the police station.) The first court date in a criminal case is usually the arraignment, and not the trial date. An arraignment is a preliminary hearing where the Judge will review the case to make sure the defendant is aware of the charge against him or her and allow them to enter an initial plea. Most people enter a “not guilty” plea at arraignment which preserves all their rights to later have a trial or negotiate a plea bargain. If you plead guilty at arraignment the judge will find you guilty and sentence you that day. It is almost impossible to undue a guilty plea. If you plead “not guilty” the court will assign a trial date that is usually a month or two away. (Pleading “not guilty” is like saying “Not ready yet” and simply puts off the final decision.) You will have that additional time to decide what to do. It is best to seek legal representation before the arraignment, but you can also plead “not guilty” and contact Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella after the arraignment for a free consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella has over 20 years’ experience representing those accused of crimes and has represented over 9,000 UNH students. Contact her for a free consultation.