People v. Chai, 2014 IL App (2nd) 121234 (August). Episode 016 (Duration 9:36)
Was there proper notice to defendant that he was not welcome at the DMV?
Criminal Trespass In Illinois
The crime of criminal trespass to real property in Illinois provides that:
Although the language of the statute does not expressly set forth a mental-state requirement, case law has established that the “knowingly” mental state applies to all elements of the offense. See People v. Ulatowski, 54 Ill. App. 3d 893, 896-98 (1977).
The statute requires that an owner or occupant provide the defendant with notice.
Criminal trespass to property is related to the charge of burglary.
Criminal Trespass To Land Is A Class B Misdemeanor
A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor. See 720 ILCS 5/21-3(h).
|Charge||Statute||Class||Range||Extended Term||Max Fine|
|CTTL||720 ILCS 5/21-3(a)(1)-(4)||Class B Misd||6 mths max||none||$1,500|
What Is The Proper Notice Requirement?
See 720 ILCS 5/21-3(b), which says,
People v. Chai, 2014 IL App (2nd) 121234 (August) features a man who is at the DMV office to help out a friend get his driver’s license.
The issue in the case was whether or not Defendant was given property notice that he was banned from the DMV for life after the first time he was escorted out by the cops.
DMV Calls The Police
We don’t know too much about the details about what happened this first time. We do know that DMV employees call the police. Defendant is escorted out by the cops and told to either go home or not to come back. We don’t know if his friend was issued a license that day.
Defendant’s Come Back
Same guy is back at the same DMV several months later.
This time he is there to help his wife, who has limited English skills, get her driver’s license. Defendant is there several hours walking her through the procedure. There are no problems at first. Everyone keeps their cool…
…until it is time for the driving test.
Then Things Go Wrong
Defendant was likely informed that he can’t be in the car with his wife during the test. Then Defendant is informed that the test can’t go on anymore because his wife does not understand English so well.
This is when Defendant loses it.
“It’s not fair,” becomes his loud refrain.
Police Are Called Back Again
You guessed it, police are called again. The facts at trial were debated, but we do know that Defendant is pushed out the building by an officer. The both of them fall to the ground outside the building and defendant ends up with a gash on his head.
Defendant was acquitted at trial for resisting and disorderly conduct but was found guilty of criminal trespass to real property.
Here, according to the State’s theory of the case, the police provided the notice.
If the court accepts the police notice then the State needed to establish a link between an owner or occupant of the DMV and the police. The State provided no evidence that an owner or occupant authorized or requested the police to provide Defendant with notice that he was never to return.
The court declined to extend existing case law to allow for notice to be given by a police officer rather than an owner or occupant under the circumstances of this case. In the case law, the owner or occupant requested that the police to provide the defendant with notice to leave the property.
There may be an inference that, if the owner or occupant called the police, the owner or occupant implicitly requested the police to provide the defendant with notice to depart. It is always “prudent to summon police and have them remove belligerent patrons rather than attempt to remove them personally.” Gudgel, 183 Ill. App. 3d at 884.
However, in the instant case, owner’s summoning police to remove a troublesome patron did not imply a request to tell that patron that he was never to return. The property at issue is a public facility. Defendant certainly couldn’t be the only person to commit the relatively innocent “offense” of losing his temper at a DMV. Thus, it is not natural or reasonable to infer that the owner or occupant, by enlisting the help of the police, instructed the police to tell Defendant that he was forever banned from the facility.
We cannot allow the jury to have made such an inference absent any evidence.
To be convicted of criminal trespass to real property, the owner or occupant must, at a minimum, request the police to give the notice on his or her behalf. the State entirely failed to prove an element of the offense, namely, that Defendant received notice from an owner or occupant that entry was forbidden.
Even in the light most favorable to the State, the evidence does not support a guilty verdict. Accordingly, the court reversed Defendant’s conviction of criminal trespass to real property.
See also People v. Quiroga, 2015 IL App (1st) 122585 (August) Episode 091 (Duration 8:13) (Criminal trespass to government property can include a ban from your kid’s school. )