With its proximity to the University of Minnesota campus, the neighborhood of Dinkytown has a wide variety of businesses catering to a mixed population of students and local residents. Businesses have long ejected unruly patrons and have also called the police to report alleged criminal offenses, including shop-lifting, public fighting and aggressive panhandling. Recently, the Dinkytown Business Association has also proposed a new set of measures that might result in misdemeanor charges of trespassing.
What this new policy proposes is that whenever there’s an incident that warrants someone’s ejection from a business, the police would be summoned to collect the offenders’ photos and personal information. After that, these offenders would remain banned for a year from the entire business community. Were they to violate that ban, they would face an arrest and a misdemeanor charge.
This initiative is meant to be a crime prevention effort. Some business owners hesitate to adopt it, however, because they see it as difficult to enforce under various circumstances; for instance, an unruly patron could flee the premises before the police come, so that no clear photos or personal information get recorded (this might even results in mix-ups of identity). Others support it, as they believe that police response is swift and that booting out undesirable patrons would improve the quality of the neighborhood.
What are some issues to consider?
An ejection and a trespass warning may not always be reasonable; offenses warranting an ejection from a business or a call to the police aren’t always clear-cut.
Furthermore, during incidents when the police are summoned, people may find themselves facing more than a trespass warning or a misdemeanor for violating a ban. They may be charged with assault or battery, for instance, if the unruly behavior involves violent threats or a physical altercation; they might face charges of disorderly conduct, for loitering, public drunkenness, or other disruptive actions.
These kinds of crimes occur commonly, and a greater police presence in the neighborhood (as a result of more frequent summons) may lead to more arrests or more citations resulting in fines. Even though many of these crimes aren’t felonies, they might still go on your record. You could face jail time or costly fines.
Regardless of whether or not the new trespassing policy goes into effect, the issues surrounding it show a need for strong legal representation in the event that you land in hot water with local businesses and the police. By contacting a Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer, you reduce your chances of dealing with unreasonable criminal charges or experiencing the stiffest legal penalties.