Is a lawyer needed for Class 2 trespassing?
Question Details: I went past a no trespassing sign at a national monument while on a run. I turned around on my own and never even made it to visitors center. I also stayed on the paved road but a cop saw me before I made it out. I live in WA and will have to fly back to AZ for the court date.
A Class 2 trespass is a misdemeanor, so it is potentially punishable by days, weeks, or even a few months (up to but not more than 90 days) in jail; however, it is much more likely you will receive a fine of a few hundred dollars (maximum is $1,000). Given the facts you describe, a (we presume) otherwise clean record (e.g. you are not a "serial trespasser), and no other charges from that date, a fine is far and away the most likely outcome, with a small chance of a dismissal if the prosecutor is feeling unusually generousl.
A lawyer can't actually help much in a case like this, since the facts are so simple and an officer saw you (i.e. there are not potential illegal stop or search issues to contest). You can probably handle this on your own and save the legal fee (which would likely be $750 - $1,500) for the airfare or fine.