Casinos are open to the public, but they are still private property. If you run into problems in a casino, they may kick you out and ask you not to come back, or they may even potentially ban you for life. If you try to reenter the casino or are caught inside the building, you could be arrested and charged with trespassing. These charges may also apply under other circumstances, too.
If you were arrested or charged with trespassing in an Atlantic City casino, contact the Atlantic City casino trespassing lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing defendants in casino crime cases in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For help with your case, contact our law offices today at (609) 625-3006 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Trespassing Laws in Atlantic City Casinos
In New Jersey, trespassing is a crime under N.J.S.A. § 2C:18-3. This law makes it illegal to enter or stay in any “structure” when you know you are “not licensed or privileged to do so.” In some cases, you will be considered a “defiant trespasser” if you have been told through “[a]ctual communication” that you are not allowed there, if there are signs or postings stating not to enter the area, or if there is fencing to keep out intruders.
In a casino, one of the most common ways that people trespass is to stay in the casino after being told to leave. If you were caught arguing with casino staff, if you were excessively drunk, or if you were causing problems at a gaming table, you may be asked to leave the premises. If you stay and continue to argue with casino security, you could be arrested for trespassing. Remaining in a building without permission is legally equivalent to entering via trespass and can lead to charges.
People are also commonly arrested at casinos if they were previously kicked out and come back later. The terms of your ban from a casino should be communicated to you clearly. For example, if casino security simply asks you to leave but does not ask you never to return, then you should be allowed back in at a later time. Alternatively, if a casino bans you for a week, you should not return during that week but could be permitted to return afterward. You should never face trespassing charges if you were not actually told not to return.
The other most common way that trespassing occurs in a casino is when a patron enters a restricted area. Doors marked “Staff Only” or “Do Not Enter” are off-limits areas that patrons should not enter. Entering these parts of a building could be considered trespassing if there are posted signs or if the door is locked. Bypassing a lock or security checkpoint could be considered defiant trespass.
Penalties for Defiant Trespassing in Atlantic City Casinos
Trespassing is a disorderly persons offense in many cases in New Jersey. This is a criminal offense on par with misdemeanors in other states, carrying lower penalties than traditional felony crimes. While these offenses might not be particularly serious compared with other crimes like burglary, there is still the possibility of severe punishments, including high fines, jail time, and a criminal record.
Trespassing is most often charged as a disorderly persons offense. This type of offense carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. Under some situations, trespassing can be charged as a fourth degree crime instead. This would upgrade the penalties to a max fine of $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison. Fortunately, most of these upgraded offenses do not apply to situations that would occur in a casino, as the statute allows these increased penalties only for trespass into a home, certain utility plants, schools, and other specific types of facilities.
Defiant trespassing has lesser penalties. This is a “petty” disorderly persons offense, which limits the max fine to $500 instead of $1,000. These penalties could still include jail time, but petty disorderly persons offenses rarely carry more than 30 days in jail.
In some situations, the charges you face could be upgraded to burglary, which carries harsher penalties. Trespassing in order to commit another crime once inside the building or the restricted area can qualify as burglary in New Jersey. Burglary is, by default, a third degree crime with a maximum of 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000. If you harmed anyone during the crime or used a weapon, the charges could be increased to a second degree crime with a maximum of 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
In any case, a conviction often means having a criminal record. For disorderly persons offenses, you may be able to seek expungement after a waiting period, but until then, your criminal record could hurt your chances of getting jobs, loans, or educational opportunities.
Atlantic City Casino Trespassing Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was arrested for trespassing in an Atlantic City casino, talk to an attorney about your charges immediately. The Atlantic City casino trespassing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are available for free consultations to help you understand the charges you face and their potential penalties. To schedule your free consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.