I have been charged with trespassing. What do I need to know?
Trespass can mean several things. The most common meaning is going onto someone’s property without their permission. But it also includes not leaving someone’s property when asked to, or doing something on their property that they don’t allow. It’s also trespass to go onto property that has a sign telling you not to enter.
There is more than one way that the law punishes people for trespassing. You can be:
- given a provincial offences ticket for trespassing and have to go to Provincial Offences Court
- charged with a crime and have to go to criminal court
- sued in civil court, like Small Claims Court
This question deals with trespass as a provincial offence. You might be given a Provincial Offences Notice or a Provincial Offences Summons, also called a “ticket”. You cannot get jail time for these tickets, but you may have to pay a fine between $50 and $10,000 or be placed on probation. Trespass can be complicated, so you may want to get legal advice from a lawyer or paralegal about your options.
If you have been charged with a crime, try to get legal help right away. Criminal trespass can be a serious offence. If you can’t afford a lawyer, read the question I can’t afford a lawyer. Where can I get free legal help?
If you’re being sued for trespass in Small Claims Court, read the question I’m being sued by someone in Small Claims Court. What should I do?