Trespass Lawyers in Des Moines

Getting convicted of sneakin' around on other people's property is a good way to raise employers' eyebrows. Trespass convictions can impact your employment. Also, they're expensive and will show up on Iowa Courts Online if someone ever feels like Googling you to find out what you've been up to. If you're accused of trespassing, an Iowa trespass lawyer can offer you guidance on your options.

Trespassing in Iowa

Iowa Code Chapter 716.7 is about trespass.

If you go where you aren't supposed to be or stay there after you're supposed to leave, that is trespassing.

If a tenant enters property where they used to live once their rights to be there have expired, their former landlord might accuse them of trespass.

If a defendant gains access to property under false pretenses, a jury might determine that they have trespassed.

Degrees of trespass in Iowa

Depending on exactly what you did, whether you damaged anything, whether you intended to commit a hate crime, etc., trespass can be charged as a simple misdemeanor, serious misdemeanor, aggravated misdemeanor, or as a class "D" felony.

Simple Misdemeanor Trespass

Trespassing on someone else's property is a simple misdemeanor. It is a miscellaneous scheduled violation under 805.8C. "Scheduled offenses" have specific punishments.

Unlike most simple misdemeanors, which are punished by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $105-$855, simple misdemeanor trespass is punished by a $200 fine the first time, a $500 fine the second time, and $1000/time for every simple misdemeanor trespass offense after that.

Simple Misdemeanor Trespass - Deer Hunting

Trespassing while hunting deer other than farm deer or preserve whitetail is a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled violation. You'll have to pay a $200 fine the first time you're convicted of trespass, a $500 fine the second time, and $1000 time for every simple misdemeanor trespass offense after that.

In addition to the scheduled fine, you're subject to civil penalties. 481A.130 explains how much you'll have to reimburse the state for unlawfully killing/possessing an animal. You'll have to pay $1500 for deer without antlers and $2000 - $20,000 for deer with antlers.

The fine there is "based on the score of the antlered deer as measured by the Boone and Crockett club’s scoring system for whitetail deer." If you're charged with this, let me know and I'll learn all about it. For now, though, I'll sum it up as "it is expensive to kill a deer."

Oh. Also, you'll have to forfeit the deer. You'll get fined for trespass, you'll have to reimburse the State for the deer you unlawfully killed, and you'll have to forfeit the deer.

Serious Misdemeanor Trespass

Trespass might be a serious misdemeanor if:

  • You trespass and injure someone or cause more than $300 worth of damage to anything.
  • You knowingly trespass with the intent to commit a hate crime.
  • You trespass and look at, photograph, or film someone who has a reasonable expectation of privacy through the window without their consent.

There are defenses to some of these things. For example, serious misdemeanor trespass charges involving observations through a window may be negated when the person observed did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy or when they were subject to undercover investigations.

You could face up to a year in jail and will be fined $430 - $2,560 if you're convicted of serious misdemeanor trespass.

Aggravated Misdemeanor Trespass

It is an aggravated misdemeanor to trespass with the intent to commit a hate crime which injures someone or causes more than $300 worth of damage.

You could face up to two years in prison and will be fined $855-$8,540 if you're convicted of aggravated misdemeanor trespass.

Class D Felony Trespass

Entering a public utility property without lawful authority or without consent is class D felony trespass. So is remaining upon the public utility property once your authority or consent has expired.

You could go to prison for up to five years for class D felony trespassing. Additionally, you'll be fined $1,025 minimum to $10,245.

Penalties for Trespassing in Iowa

If you're convicted of or plead guilty to Iowa trespass, you will face fines and/or jail time for a simple misdemeanor, a serious misdemeanor, an aggravated misdemeanor, or a class D felony.

  • Simple misdemeanor trespass. $200 fine the first time, a $500 fine the second time, and $1000/time thereafter.
  • Serious misdemeanor trespass. Up to a year in jail. Fines of $430 to $2560. 
  • Aggravated Misdemeanor trespass. Up to 2 years in prison. Fine of $855 to $8540.
  • Class D Felony trespass: Up to 5 years in prison. Fine of $1025 to $10,245.

You will have to pay an additional 15% crime services surcharge on any fine.

Charged with a crime in iowa? We can help!

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