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Trespassing Charges

Trespass is one of the most commonly charged crimes in the state of Florida. It is charged against people from all walks of life from homeless people accused of trespassing where businesses don’t want them, to the rich accused of trespassing on a neighbor’s yard. Regular citizens get into fights every day and threaten to trespass each other from their respective properties. Regardless of how its charged or who it’s charged against, trespass is actually a surprisingly complex and misunderstood criminal law. Although it may seem simple and minor, the criminal charge of trespass can leave a lasting blemish on your record and you should retain a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to defend you from this charge.

The Many Types of Trespass

The first type of trespass that can be charged in Florida is known as trespass in a structure or conveyance. Florida Statute 810.08 prohibits the unauthorized entry into a home, business or automobile. Trespass in a structure or conveyance is typically the easiest type of trespass charge to prove, because it is relatively simple to prove that someone was not authorized to be inside of a house or car that they do not own. Often, people who are originally charged with burglary of a structure or conveyance plead to the lesser charge of trespass if the prosecution is having difficulty proving the original case.

Trespass of a structure or conveyance at the most basic level is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum 60 day sentence. If the prosecution proves that another person was present in the car or building at the time of the trespass, it is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Finally, if, at the time of the trespass, the defendant was armed with a firearm or other weapon, the charge is enhanced to a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The more complicated version of trespass is trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance. This is the crime of trespass that is charged when police or property owners attempt to trespass someone from a public place or another sort of outdoor area. This version of trespass is often misunderstood and can be difficult to prove. Because of those difficulties, you should not just plea guilty without first consulting with an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case.

In order to prove this version of trespass, the prosecution has two roads that it can go down. First, they can prove that the defendant entered or remained on any property after they have been “trespassed” from that property. A person can be trespassed from a property by actual communication or by posting. If a property owner, authorized agent, or police officer inform you that you are not permitted to remain on a certain property, then you will be deemed to have been given notice, and if you are found on that property again, you can be charged with trespass.

You can also be noticed by “posting.” You may be familiar with the common NO TRESPASSING sign that is typically placed outside of stores and businesses. Law enforcement and business owners will often mistake these types of signs as proper postings to put people on notice that they have been trespassed. However, these signs usually do not actually comply with the law. A legally permissible trespass posting sign must include the words “no trespassing” and the name of the owner or occupant of the land. The signs must also be placed along the boundary line of a property and must be posted at each corner of the property. If you have been arrested for trespass based only on the presence of one of these signs, you likely have a strong defense and should contact a lawyer immediately.

Speak to Our Lawyers Today

The lawyers at Hanlon Law are well versed in the defense of all Florida criminal cases. If you are in need of a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney, call us today at 727.289.0222.

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