Urban exploring is a trend that has been around for many years, but lately it has caught on more than ever with the prevalence of social media sites. This activity involves visiting abandoned buildings to take pictures and explore the ways in which the empty structures have deteriorated over time. Many enthusiasts think this is a harmless activity, or may realize there is some element of risk involved. However, some might not consider that many abandoned buildings are owned by the government or private parties. Urban explorers in North Dakota may find themselves facing criminal trespassing charges if they’re caught by law enforcement.
According to the North Dakota Century Code, trespassing penalties can range from a misdemeanor for entering a building that is fenced off or has a “no trespassing” sign posted, to a class C felony charge for breaking into a highly secured property.
Recently, an urban explorer who was famous online for his photographs faced felony breaking and entering charges for exploring an abandoned mall. VICE reported that the man claimed after a news interview on his hobby was aired, law enforcement obtained a subpoena to go through his Facebook messages and email for proof of his trespassing. His charge was later lowered to a misdemeanor.
Urban explorers may think they aren’t doing anything wrong when sneaking onto abandoned property. They might also not realize the extent of the trouble they could get into. It may help to speak with a criminal defense attorney when facing trespassing charges.