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Charge of Trespass During Protest

Charge of Trespass During a Protest

Often a charge of trespass is the result of individuals protesting a business. Further, it is typically charged as a misdemeanor unless one of the protestors enters the building or structure and knowingly remains in the building unlawfully. Unlawfully typically means without the consent of the owner.

An example of how someone can be charged with misdemeanor trespassing in Missouri happened in St. Louis, Missouri on December 20, 2010 at a local Bank of America. Nearly 80 people were protesting the Bank’s extremely slow pace of processing loan modifications on the sidewalk outside of the bank. Some of the protestors were allegedly yelling at bank employees and singing songs. Further, it is alleged that law enforcement told the protestors they were not welcome on the property and should remain on the sidewalk.

No arrests were made until six of the protestors allegedly locked arms and began climbing the steps of the bank. Police say that they arrested the six individuals for 2nd degree trespassing after they ignored orders to return to the sidewalk.

The burden now rests with the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals did in fact violate the Missouri law on trespassing in the second degree. If convicted, these protestors can face up to a year in jail or a $1000.00 fine. With the mortgage crisis still looming in the United States and a volatile economic environment there are many protests similar to these happening at financial institutions all over the country. While there are laws for trespassing, citizens still deserve the protection of the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech.

If you have been charged with a crime for exercising one of America’s greatest constitutional rights, Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. will fight for you and make sure you receive the protection you deserve. A St. Louis criminal defense lawyer is available 24/7. Call today for a free consultation.