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  1. #1

    Default Criminal Trespassing in New Mexico

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: New Mexico

    Last night at around 2 AM, four friends and I went onto the campus of our old high school. The door to our old drama building was unlocked (so no forced entry occurred), so we decided to go in and look around. When we exited the building, a group of police officers spotted us and told us to lay and the ground with our arms behind our heads. We explained the situation and assured that there was no property damage of any kind. Two officers checked the building and verified this. They were threatening felony charges for breaking and entering and trying to scare us. All of us are 21 or older and complete adult citizens. We all have completely clean criminal records:this would be the first offense. One by one, they pulled us aside to talk to us. I became so nervous and jaded after this that I don't recall exactly what happened. I am trying to find out if I will have to appear in court or not.

    I vividly remember the officer saying that if I ever entered public school property and a cop ran my name, he would see some sort of a mark on my record from this and be able to incarcerate me. I explicitly remember him telling me that I cannot enter public school property. I asked him if it was a problem that I went to a public college and he said it wasn't.

    Me and one of my friends left our ID's in our vehicles, so the officer was gathering personal information from us like name, home address, and phone number. I remember asking the cop which phone number I should give him and he said something to the effect of "Whichever one would be easiest for the courts to get a hold of you with."
    He said that I was fortunate because he was not pressing any serious charges, I believe he mentioned the felony breaking and entering charges. I think he mentioned that we were being charged with criminal trespassing. I don't remember his exact words, but it was definitely about criminal trespassing, which I believe is a misdemeanor.

    He asked me and the other friend without an ID where our cars were. We told him that we parked next to the school. He asked us if we were fully licensed and ensured. When we said "yes" he let me and the friend leave with our other friends.

    He did not handcuff any of us or take us to jail. He did not give any of us a written citation with a court date and none of us signed any papers. He mentioned something about how lucky we were and let us drive home. Aside from the ID's three of my friends let him see and the name, telephone, and address that me and the other friend gave him, there was no information exchanged. We literally didn't receive any papers or citations with information on them.

    I am confused because I think I remember him saying some about listing "Whichever telephone number would be easiest for the courts to get a hold of me with." And yet none of us received any citations. We all left empty-handed.

    I am unclear if I will face a court trail and have to pay the fines and jail time associated with a misdemeanor. Did the cop just intend scare me, or can I still be issued charges through the contact information I gave the officer (like through mail, phone, etc.) I am still certain that something occurred as I know that there is some kind of a mark on my record preventing me from entering campus. This is more confusing because I thought that misdemeanor charges required either an arrest or a citation.

    Should I be expecting a court summons by phone or in the mail, or were these cops just trying to scare me? Either way, I don't ever plan on doing this again: I have completely learned my lesson. I am just afriad and I don't know if a court trial is in my future.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Do I Face Criminal Charges: Criminal Trespassing: New Mexico

    The cops will likely turn it over to the prosecutor and he'll have to determine if he thinks it's worth charging you. It is not the case (contrary to what you see on TV) that criminals are arrested, mirandized and hauled off to jail as soon as a crime is detected. Whether you entered via an open door or not is immaterial. If the building was posted "no tresspassing" you're guilty. If you go back after being warned, you're guilty. They may we waiting to see if you committed some other crime in the process as well.

    Keep your trap shut and if the police or prosecutor's office contact you, do not talk to them without a lawyer.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Do I Face Criminal Charges: Criminal Trespassing: New Mexico

    Thanks for the quick response: while I did not look for a "no trespassing" sign it was very likely that there was one present. Even so, it seems very explicit that being there was trespassing. I certainly have no intention of going back. I am fairly certain that they will not find evidence of another crime because we committed no other crimes. What is the general time frame on being contacted by the prosecutor or the police? A few days? A year? Should I get a lawyer and have him on standby? If not, when they call should I simply say "I don't feel comfortable talking until I get a lawyer." ?

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