CanI be charged with trespassing by the police ifI had the tenant’s permission to be there?

UPDATED: Jan 28, 2011

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CanI be charged with trespassing by the police ifI had the tenant’s permission to be there?

My friend lives in a student housing apartment complex. We just got back to his place one night and were listening to music/having drinks. I didn’t see it but one guy started getting pretty out of control making threatening gestures with a knife. My friend ended up calling the police (which he almost immediately regretted). They came and handcuffed me and my friend and asked a bunch of questions about the guy with the knife that had already left. We both didn’t say much so I ended up being given a trespass warning and the police escorted me off of the property. Do I have any options to fight this?

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Trespass is the entry onto the land of another without consent or privilege.  Since you had consent to be on the property, this would be your defense to a charge of trespass.

However, since the police only gave you a warning, it would appear that you were not charged with trespass.  If that is the case, it would be difficult to prevail in a lawsuit against the police under these circumstances.  The police could claim that you were handcuffed and escorted off the property due to their investigation of an incident involving someone wielding a knife.  Even though someone else had the knife, the police could claim that as part of their investigation at the scene, they acted reasonably to protect themselves and others by handcuffing you and your friend when they did not know who had the knife.

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.

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