Trespassing in Ohio can be defined by a variety of actions, all falling under the umbrella of unauthorized access or occupancy. If you perform any of the following behaviors without obtaining appropriate permission, consent, or authorization from respective owners, charges of criminal trespassing may follow:

  • Deliberately entering and/or lingering on another’s land, property, or premises.
  • Entering and remaining on someone else’s property, ignoring structures like signs and fences that are designed to notify you that you are not permitted on the land. 
  • Disregarding verbal notifications requesting that you immediately vacate the property.

In the context of Ohio trespassing laws, the term ‘land, property, or premises’ is given a wide scope. It refers to any plot of land, building, or structure that another individual or entity maintains control over.

Criminal trespass might seem like a minor infraction on the surface, but if convicted, it can carry longer-term consequences that will disrupt your life.

Criminal Trespass Penalties

In Ohio, the penalties associated with criminal trespassing can vary depending on the nature of the trespass.  

Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor

The most common classification for criminal trespassing in Ohio designates it as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If convicted under this category, expect penalties of up to 30 days imprisonment along with fines that can reach $250. 

First-Degree Misdemeanor

Ohio law takes an increasingly stringent stance against those who choose to intrude into places of public amusement. This form of violation is regarded as a first-degree misdemeanor and carries heavier repercussions, potentially resulting in jail time extending up to 180 days and imposing maximum fines of up to $1,000.

Penalties For Trespassing With a Snowmobile or Other Off-Road Vehicle

In Ohio, if you use a vehicle like a snowmobile or off-road motorcycle while trespassing, you are also guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. However, your fine can be double the usual amount. 

Additionally, if you continually trespass using this type of vehicle, the state can apply tougher rules. If you’re facing your third (or subsequent) charge and used one of these vehicles during those crimes, Ohio may not only fine you and potentially put you in jail but could also seize your vehicle’s certificate of registration. 

Defending against a criminal trespass charge requires a strategic approach. Some of the most common defenses include the following: 

Absence of Criminal Intent

Trespassing is an intentional act, so putting forth evidence that proves you did not have any intention to violate property boundaries can lead to a not-guilty verdict.  


A necessity defense involves presenting evidence showing your trespass was necessary to avoid immediate harm or danger through no fault of your own – such as entering private property in response to being chased by an aggressive dog. 


This strategy focuses on proving mistaken identity – demonstrating someone else committed the violation and you are being wrongfully accused.

Claim of Right

This defense entails asserting that you had a legitimate right to enter or remain on the property in question. The basis for this claim could range from having explicit permission from the rightful owner, possessing contractual rights concerning property usage, or even arguing over disputed land boundaries.

Defenses That Cannot Be Used

In Ohio, it’s crucial to know that the following defenses against trespassing charges cannot be used: 

Trespassing on Property of a Public Agency

You might be under the mistaken impression that properties owned by a public agency are exceptions when it comes to trespassing, given they are public entities. However, this is not correct – you can still face charges for unauthorized entry or remaining on such premises without explicit official permission. 

Gaining Access Through Deception

If you procured consent via misleading means or deception, your obtained ‘permission’ will fail in court, and you can still be convicted. 

Understanding the available defenses is essential if you find yourself as a defendant facing these charges. 

Contact a Trusted Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney

For help with a criminal trespass charge in Ohio, we’re here for you. Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with a criminal trespass defense lawyer. 

Contact a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer If You’re Facing Criminal Charges

Criminal harassment charges in the state of Ohio are a serious matter. If you have been charged with criminal charges, you face fines and jail time. Additionally, these types of charges can have lasting consequences on your life, including difficulty obtaining employment or housing opportunities due to having a record. 

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati law office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States