Got a pink summon for walking along a rail road?

I got a pink summon for walking along a rail road. The area was a small
abandoned lot just off the road which was neither fenced off nor signed.
There were sofas, litter, and graffiti there, so it was obvious that people came
there regularly. I was just walking through the neighborhood and decided to
check out the debris. I did not know that being in the area was illegal until a
cop ticketed me as I was leaving.
Should I plead guilty? Not guilty? Contest my case? Request an Adjournment
in Contemplation of Dismissal?

I have no previous criminal records, I’m just a college student and I don’t want
one. The cop told me that I won’t get a criminal record for this, probably just
a fine. Is that true? What kind of penalties am I looking at and is it worth
getting a lawyer?

Asked on May 26, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you don't want a record, you need to hire an attorney to assist you with the allegations.
This is a "ticket" offense... which means that you are not likely get thrown in jail for it.  However, if you are ticketed or enter a plea, it could show up on a criminal background check later.  Many employers will not hold this type of charge against you as it's not a major offense... however, some will and it could result in denial of certain employment opportunities.   If you are going to college and receiving scholarships, then this could affect your eligibility for other grants.  Before you enter a plea, make sure that this plea doesn't affect any of your college plans or future career goals. 
You do have a defense in that this was not an intentional act on your part.  Given that this was just walking, you may be able to negate the intent element of this offense.

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