Can the state police file trespassing charges if they do not own the property and the property owner does not file the charges themselves?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can the state police file trespassing charges if they do not own the property and the property owner does not file the charges themselves?

My fiance was arrested on a criminal trespass charge as well as a burglary
charge. However, he never actually entered the building, no part of him went
inside the building. So they shouldn’t be able to file burglary charges either
correct? But I spoke with the manager of the property and they said they more
than likely wouldn’t be pushing for any charges. So at that point wouldn’t the
state police be required to drop the criminal trespass as well?

Asked on December 1, 2017 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, charges can be filed for trespassing (or any other crime) even if the property owner does not file charges. Criminal law is not like civil (i.e. lawsuit) law: in a civil case, a person sues for compensation for an injury, loss, etc. done to him or her. If the person who suffered the loss or injury chooses to not sue (is willing to not be compensated), then no can take action for him or her. It's like if you loan Bob money, and Bob refuses to repay you; your friend Jane may be outraged on your behalf, but if you are willing to let Bob keep your money, Jane can do nothing about that.
But criminal law punishes people for violating society's laws; it is society, not the person to whom the crime was done, that has the interest in enforcing the law and the power to do so. That is why criminal cases are always titled or captioned "State vs."--it is the state, or the government, not the person who was wronged, bringing the case. So the state police can file charges to enforce the no-trespassing or other laws even if the property owner doesn't want that done.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption