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How is trespassing considered a crime?

With a title like America’s Last Frontier, it comes as no surprise that people in Alaska like to explore. Whether hunting on privately owned grounds that appear to be unused or doing some urban exploring in an abandoned building, you might not realize you could face trespassing charges. While relatively minor compared to other types of crimes, you should understand that a trespassing charge can come with serious penalties.

How do I know whether I am trespassing, you may wonder? Alaska statutes explain trespassing in further detail. If you enter privately or publicly owned property without permission or remain on property after someone in authority has told you to leave, you could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge. You could face additional, more serious criminal charges if it is determined you ventured on land or entered a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime.

Property owners should take measures to make it clear that trespassers are not wanted on the premises. These can include a fence or signage stating that nobody is to enter. Defending yourself against a trespassing charge may be more difficult if the area was fenced off or there were signs warning against trespassing. However, you may have numerous reasons to excuse your actions, including passing through an area of land you did not know was off limits to outsiders, or entering property to prevent another person’s injury or to help someone in apparent distress.

Everyone is entitled to a competent defense, regardless of the severity of the charges. Since the area of criminal defense can be complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.