This past weekend, an over-zealous Bears fan ran onto Soldier Field during a pre-season training camp practice. The man was charged with felony criminal trespass in a place of public amusement and held on a $10,000 bond. This incident raises a good question: what exactly is felony criminal trespass? Are there different subparts to the statute for different circumstances giving rise to the charge? What should you do if you have been charged?
Chapter 720 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 5/21 outlines the law on trespass including: criminal trespass to vehicles, real property, state supported land, safe school zones, restricted areas and restricted landing areas at airports, nuclear facility, and places of public amusement.
Criminal trespass to a place of public amusement occurs when an individual “knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains on any … place of public amusement after having received notice that the general public is restricted from access to that portion of the place of public amusement.”
What is a place of public amusement? The legislature defined public amusement as “a stadium, a theater, or any other facility of any kind, whether licensed or not, where a live performance, a sporting event, or any other activity takes place” for entertainment purpose and access is open to the pubic, “regardless of whether admission is charged.”
Examples of places of public amusement include, Soldier Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Grant Park during Lollapalooza, the United Center, summer plays in parks, and so forth.
Criminal trespass to a place of public amusement is a Class 4 felony punishable, in addition to any jail sentence, by a fine of $1,000.
Another important piece of the criminal trespass statute is the trespass to real property section. An individual may be charged with criminal trespass to real property when he knowingly and without lawful authority (1) enters another’s property after receiving notice entry is forbidden, (2) remains on another’s property after receiving notice to depart, (3) falsely identifies himself as owner/occupant to gain admission, (4) enters a field used for farming/cattle purposes.
This young man’s decision could jeopardize his future. Regardless of whether he is convicted, he has been arrested and charged with a crime: he has a record. Depending on the resolution of the case, he may face many of the challenges discussed in our expungement and sealing blog series. A criminal record is a serious matter. If you have been charged with felony criminal trespass or any other crime, or if you have questions regarding the intricacies, ambiguities, and exceptions of the statute, give us a call at Laura Law.