For Those Charged With a Crime
Defense Against Criminal Trespass Charges
Protecting You from Unlawful Conviction
The signs that read “No Trespassing” are typically accompanied by smaller print that defines the consequences of not abiding by the no trespassing warning. However, far too many people ignore the warning and enter an area or a property that they should not be entering. Within the Texas Penal Code, Section 30.05 defines what criminal trespass means in the Lone Star State. Although criminal trespassing often accompanies more serious criminal charges such as burglary or destruction of public property, a charge of criminal trespassing should not be taken lightly by anyone facing the criminal charge.
A conviction for criminal trespassing can lead to penalties that include jail time and/or a hefty fine. You also can expect a criminal trespassing conviction to show up on background checks, which can make securing gainful employment an exercise in futility. If you face the charge of criminal trespassing, you should work with a Texas licensed criminal defense attorney such as Adam Capetillo who understands every possible defense to use for exonerating you of all criminal charges.
Criminal Trespassing Laws in Texas
A criminal trespassing charge can be issued because a defendant allegedly entered someone else’s property after ignoring the intent of the property owner to ban anyone from entering the property. If you refuse to depart another person’s property after being instructed to do so, you can receive a criminal trespassing charge. Texas law designates five ways a private property owner can give legal notice to address the criminal act of trespassing.
- Restricted access area
- Oral or written communication that clearly prohibits trespassing
- An easy to see sign forbidding anyone from entering private property
- An easy to see parcel of land where crops are grown for human consumption
- Purple paint marks that are created to be the legally required size and placement on trees or posts
Penalties from Criminal Trespassing in Texas
Entering private property, without first gaining the approval of the property owner, can result in the charge called criminal trespassing. The State of Texas has established three possible penalties for a criminal trespassing conviction. The severity of the penalty depends on a defendant’s criminal record, as well as whether the criminal trespassing charge is accompanied by more serious criminal charges.
Here are the three types of penalties available for prosecutors to pursue in criminal trespassing cases:
- Class A misdemeanor-Up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000
- Class B misdemeanor- Up to 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000
- Class A misdemeanor-A fine not to exceed $5000
Texas law typically allows for a Class C misdemeanor for cases involving trespassing on land primarily used for agricultural purposes. The most serious criminal trespassing conviction of a Class A misdemeanor is reserved for trespassing incidents that occur in another person’s home.
Defending Criminal Trespass Charges
In some cases, it is possible for a skilled litigator to negotiate an outcome that is favorable for a client. If we cannot get the case dismissed outright, our team of highly capable criminal defense lawyers will work hard to get a criminal trespassing charge reduced to a much lesser infraction. However, our goal is to have you cleared of all charges using one of the following defenses.
Consent is a powerful defense to use for a criminal trespassing charge. Even if a visible sign banned anyone from entering a property, the property owner still could have given consent to another person to enter the property. This is a common occurrence when a friend or a relative is given consent to enter a property to retrieve something of value, such as a car or a piece of furniture. The key to using this defense is to present clear evidence the property owner gave consent despite the presence of a “No Trespassing” sign.
As a defense used during a time of crisis, public necessity constitutes the act of trespassing that is committed to protect the public interest. We must establish that there was a clear and immediate need to trespass, as well as prove you acted in good faith to help protect the public during an emergency. This defense is especially effective in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.
Considered not as effective of a defense for a criminal trespassing charge, private necessity remains a viable option for a client who trespassed on private property to prevent death or to protect against bodily harm. The reason why this defense is not as effective as the defense of public necessity is although you will be acquitted of a criminal trespass charge, you might be on the financial hook for any property damage that you caused.
Think of a criminal trespass charge like a snowball. Although it starts out small, it can grow into a large problem if it is not addressed properly. Be proactive to fight back against charges of criminal trespassing by working with highly rated criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo.