There are a few different types of trespassing situations that can leave you facing a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. One is when it's evident to everyone that you're on someone's private property—for example, you've climbed a neighbor's fence and are in his or her backyard when the neighbor notices you and calls the police. Another type of trespassing situation occurs when you're on someone else's land but have no knowledge of it. This is the type of scenario that can often occur if you're hiking, camping, or otherwise doing something in the wilderness. In the event of a trespassing charge, here are some defenses that criminal lawyers might want to build your case around.
In order for you to willfully trespass onto someone's property, you would need to see some signs that warn you about private property and then choose to ignore them. If you're on a large area of federal land and cross onto someone's private property without knowing it, it's entirely possible that there weren't any signs in this location. This is a relatively easy thing for you and your attorney to prove. You can take your attorney's investigators to the scene, and they can photograph the area where you crossed from one property to another to show that there aren't any warning signs.
A property doesn't need to be fenced around its perimeter, but the lack of a fence can mean that people may wander onto the property without being aware of their actions. This is especially true of a property that sits against federal land or some other type of public land that people frequently enjoy using. In a similar manner, you and your attorney's investigators will be able to show proof of the lack of fences—and your attorney can thus argue that you had no idea you were trespassing.
While contending with some manner of emergency doesn't necessarily make it right to trespass onto someone's property, one defense that your attorney could explore is that you were on the private property because of a serious emergency. For example, if you were hiking with a friend and he or she sustained a suspected broken ankle, you might have made a direct beeline to the nearest road or house, which may have included a trek across private property. Upon understanding the issue, the plaintiff's attorneys may convince him or her to drop the trespassing charge.