If you have been charged with any crime, or provincial offence, contact a criminal lawyer immediately. Being represented by legal counsel is the best way for you to fight your charges.
Ever wander past a stately home, or an abandoned building only to be met with a black and red sign reading “NO TRESPASSING, VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” Well some good news, trespassing on its own is not a criminal offence! However, in specific circumstances, such as if you have a peace bond or other court order forbidding you from being at a certain address, being in a specific location may be a different criminal offence. There is only one specific type of trespass found in the criminal code, namely “Trespassing at Night”, and there is also a provincial offences statute dealing with trespass in Ontario.
Trespassing at Night
Section 177 of the Criminal Code outlines the only specific trespass offence, it reads;
177 Every one who, without lawful excuse, the proof ofwhich lies on him, loiters or prowls at night on the propertyof another person near a dwelling-house situated onthat property is guilty of an offence punishable on summaryconviction.
In other words, this is a provision intended to criminalize the act of being a “peeping Tom”. In order to be found guilty of this offence it must be night-time (defined by the Code as the hours between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am) and it must be near a dwelling house. Trespassing at any place other than a dwelling house and not during the night time hours is not a criminal offence. This is a straight summary conviction offence meaning it is punishable by a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.
Provincial Offence of Trespass
In Ontario, there is a provincial law dealing with trespassing, namely the Trespass to Property Act, it outlinesthe provincial offence relating to trespassing on property. A provincial offence is like a traffic ticket, there are penalties attached, but being convicted will not lead to a criminal record. The provincial offence of trespass is worded as follows:
2 (1) Every person who is not acting under a right or authority conferred by law and who,
(a) without the express permission of the occupier, the proof of which rests on the defendant,
(i) enters on premises when entry is prohibited under this Act, or
(ii) engages in an activity on premises when the activity is prohibited under this Act; or
(b) does not leave the premises immediately after he or she is directed to do so by the occupier of the premises or a person authorized by the occupier,
is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000.
In other words, by trespassing you could be liable to a fine. The court also has discretion to award damages to the property owner.
If you have been charged with an offence, criminal or provincial, the best way to protect your rights and fight the charges is to hire a criminal defence lawyer. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal defence lawyers on staff who can assist you.
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