Criminal trespass charges are serious and if convicted, come with harsh penalties. Trespassing in Florida may be in one of four categories including trespass on property, trespass in a structure, trespass in a conveyance, and trespass on school property. Trespassing can be committed in one of two ways. You may trespass by willfully entering or staying on property without having been invited or by returning to a property after having been told to stay away. For example, if you have been seen walking near an abandoned building and the owner sees you and tells you to get away, you have been warned. If you are found returning to the same property you have committed trespassing because the owner warned you to stay away.

Defending Criminal Trespass Charges

There are some important ways to defend criminal trespass charges. When you have been arrested for criminal trespass there may be a reasonable explanation for why you were there. Your attorney will review the situation with you and determine what occurred and how to best defend the charges. There are some basic ways to defend against criminal trespass charges including:

  • Consent
  • Establishment is open to the public
  • Lack of intent to commit a crime
  • Improper posting
  • Stale warning

Additionally, your attorney will present any pretrial defenses that apply to your situation. Trespassing charges may often be accompanied by other charges such as burglary. The defense to the charges against you will depend on the type of trespass that was allegedly committed as well as the other facts regarding the case. A skilled attorney will be able to assist you in resolving your case.

Penalties for Trespassing

A trespassing conviction comes with penalties that can be quite harsh. There are different penalties depending on the type of trespass committed as well as other factors such as whether this is your first conviction. A simple trespass is usually considered a misdemeanor. Some of the penalties for a basic trespass conviction include jail time, probation, and monetary fines. However, it is important to keep in mind that trespassing penalties will be enhanced for certain reasons including such things as:

  • The accused was armed with a weapon or firearm
  • The area is a construction site
  • The area is a agricultural research or test site or manufactures agricultural chemicals
  • The area is a domestic violence center

If any of these situations apply, the trespassing charges are raised to felony charges. The defenses for these charges increase the jail time to up to five years in jail, up to five years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines.

Common Trespassing Charges

Trespassing charges are very commonly associated with hunters and other outdoor sportsmen. All too often a hunter or group of hunters decides to hunt in an area that is private. If caught, they may be charged with criminal trespassing. In some cases, you may not have seen any posted warnings or there may have been no indication that the property was private. It is important to retain an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will take steps to resolve your case by thoroughly reviewing your specific case and determining the best defense. If charged with criminal trespass consult with a lawyer quickly as this gives you the best opportunity for a successful resolution.