Wanton trespass is a property crime that is committed when a person is present on the property of another after being notified by the owner of the property or a person under his or her authority to keep off the property and when there is no good faith claim of right to remain on the property. See Md. Criminal Law Code 6-403. A person commits wanton trespass if he or she acts with extreme recklessness and utter disregard for the property rights of another and was aware of the fact that he or she was making an unauthorized intrusion. But if the person had a good faith claim of right to remain on the property, there is no wanton trespass to the property rights of another.
What Does “Wanton” Mean?
“Wanton” is a legal term that simply means a person acted recklessly and with disregard for the rights or wellbeing of other people. Although “wanton” describes how a person may have acted, it really refers to a state of mind or intent. It is what is known as the mens rea of a crime. To support a conviction for wanton trespassing, the State must be able to prove that the Defendant had a wanton intent – something which the State may not be able to do if the Defendant had a good faith claim of right to be on the property.
What Type of Notice is Required?
Often, a defense to wanton trespass is that the accused was not given reasonable notice to leave the property. To support a conviction for wanton trespassing, the State must prove that the Defendant was given reasonable notice and the opportunity to leave but remained on the property. Only the owner of the property or an agent of the owner can give notice to another person to leave the property.
If the accused merely knew that he or she was not welcome on the property, that is not enough to support a conviction.
Wanton Trespass Attorney in Towson, MD
We have extensive experience handling cases in which a person is charged with wanton trespass on private property. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with wanton trespass on private property. During your initial consultation, you will go over the facts of your case, explore possible defenses and defense strategies, and discuss ways in which you can avoid a conviction altogether or minimize the consequences of a possible conviction.