Should I pay a tresspassing ticket or go to court?

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2011

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Should I pay a tresspassing ticket or go to court?

I went to photograph scenic nature at a national park. As I drove in the gate there was a policeman there but he did not stop me. I barely saw the no tresspassing sign for the hours but since the cop said nothing I decided to go on. After I drove up the hill and park, the officer came by and wrote me a ticket. If I pay the ticket, how will this affect my records? If I go to court and explain what happened, will the judge listen or will I be forced to plead not guilty and have to get a lawyer?

Asked on August 26, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If I were you, I would show up in court to contest the trespassing ticket because from what you write, it does not seem as though you had the intent to do what you were charged with doing. The policeman at the gated entry lulled you into a false sense of security and safety.

Had you seen the "no trespassing" sign, most likely you would not have entered the area where you went. Had the police officer been doing his or her job, you would have been stopped as you were going in, inquiries made, you would have been advised of your inability to proceed and you most likely would have turned around without a ticket in hand.

If I was the judge hearing your case, I wiuld be somethat sympathetic to your version of what transpired.

Good luck.

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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