Thursday, May 24, 2012

Think Twice Before You Take That Dip

Imagine you’re out driving around with a bunch of your buddies - schools out and it’s a muggy July night. You then come across an apartment complex or a neighborhood association with a really sweet looking pool. Someone suggests going over the fence for a swim. The problem is it’s now 1:00 am and the pool is dark and locked up tight.

This is a scenario that is frequently played out during the hot summer months, mostly by teenagers or young adults. Unfortunately, the decision to enter the pool without the owner’s permission can result in a charge of trespassing.

The majority of the time people will swim and leave without causing a problem and it’s up to the property owners whether or not they want to sign a complaint against the trespassers. There are also a few times where property is damaged by juveniles who throw items into the pool, damage fixtures, or even spray paint graffiti on the property. Underage consumption of alcohol is also frequently involved, as well. Because of these things, property owners are more willing to follow through with charges.

Several years ago we had an incident at one of our neighborhood pools where a young female attempted to climb the iron fence surrounding the pool. She lost her footing and her leg became impaled on the wrought iron top of the fence post. Luckily she sustained minor injuries as a result of attempting to get in after hours.

Criminal Trespass for this purpose is defined as:

11.12.030 (OPMC) Criminal trespass.

A. "Criminal trespass" is

1. entering or remaining upon or in any land, nonnavigable body of water, structure, vehicle, aircraft or watercraft other than railroad property or nuclear generating facility by a person with knowledge that such person is not authorized or privileged to do so, and:

a. Such person enters or remains therein in defiance of an order not to enter or to leave such premises or property personally communicated to such person by the owner thereof or other authorized person; or

b. Such premises or property are posted in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, or are locked or fenced or otherwise enclosed, or shut or secured against passage or entry; or

B. Criminal trespass is a class B violation. Upon a conviction of a violation of subsection (A)(1)(c) a person shall be sentenced to not less than 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment which must be served either before or as a condition of any grant of probation or suspension, reduction of sentence or parole.