Scaling a Building Could Land You in Jail

climbing holds on a wall - climbing a building is a crime

Scaling a Building Could Land You in Jail

Do you love climbing? Have you ever looked up at a tall building and thought, “No problem, I can totally scale that!” Unfortunately for you, doing so could land you a misdemeanor—or even a felony charge. Just ask Maison DesChamps, the man arrested after climbing the 40-story Chase Tower in Phoenix last month. He is facing trespassing and public nuisance charges thanks to his free-climb. 

What Is Criminal Trespass?

According to the Arizona penal code, there are three types of criminal trespassing. While the code might not state outright that you cannot climb a building, unless you have permission from the building’s owner, climbing it is a crime.

Third Degree Trespass 

  • Enter another’s property after being told not to by the owner or police
  • Staying on the property after being asked to leave by the owner or police
  • Entering property owned by a railroad

Second Degree Trespass

  • Entering or staying on a property without authorization from appropriate parties

First Degree Trespass

  • Entering or staying on private property (like a home or fenced yard) without permission from the owner
  • Entering property to invade the privacy of the owner
  • Entering or staying in a religious building without permission, or defacing religious symbols

Criminal trespassing is a public nuisance, and it can have consequences that range from a class 1 or 3 misdemeanors to a class 5 or 6 felony. If convicted, you could be facing prison or jail time, probation, and fines. 

What Are Public Nuisance Laws?

A public nuisance is an action that disrupts an entire community. There is a difference between private nuisances, like a dog barking, and a public nuisance, not being able to access a public sidewalk or part of the road due. The difference is that a private nuisance only affects a few neighbors. A public nuisance, however, affects the entire community. 

Some examples of public nuisances include:

  • Health hazards
  • Noxious smells
  • Overly bright lights
  • Indecent materials being spread in public areas

A public nuisance charge is a class 2 misdemeanor and can carry penalties of jail time, probation, and fines. 

Best Criminal Attorney in Arizona

If you have been charged with criminal trespassing or creating a public nuisance, it is important to hire a lawyer. Any criminal conviction—especially a felony—can follow you for years to come. This can impact your future job opportunities, access to housing, your right to vote, or even social benefits like food stamps. 

Hiring a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the Arizona justice system is the best way to ensure a fair and reasonable resolution. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience as an Arizona criminal attorney. He has handled countless felony and misdemeanor cases, with exceptional results. Contact us today for a consultation on your case. 



Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/16/23). Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash.