Trespassing is more than accidentally walking through a neighbor’s front yard. Criminal trespassing can be a serious crime in California. When you intend to enter someone else’s property without authorization, you may potentially face felony or misdemeanor charges. Trespassing can also escalate to other high degree charges if it involves any intent to cause injury or property damage.
Circumstances surrounding trespassing can quickly become complicated and confusing. Having a knowledgeable San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer by your side provides many advantages. The right attorney will be able to explain the charges against you, and take the proper steps in building a solid defense. Contact McElfresh Law today to receive your free and confidential consultation. We will be able to evaluate your case, and help defend your freedom.
What Constitutes as Trespassing?
Under California Penal Code 602, a person can be found guilty of trespass when they willfully commit any of the following acts:
- Cutting down, destroying or injuring any wood or timber growing on someone else’s land.
- Digging, taking, or carrying away from any lot within the limits of an incorporated city without license to do so.
- Maliciously tearing down, damaging, or mutilating any sign or notice affixed to property belonging to the state or another person.
- Entering any lands owned by another person whereon oysters or other shellfish are planted or growing.
- Willfully opening, tearing down, or otherwise destroying any fence on the enclosed land of another.
- Building a fire upon land owned by another where signs forbidding trespass are displayed.
- Entering any land for the purpose of injuring property or interfering with any lawful business.
- Refusing or failing to leave the lands immediately upon being requested by the property owner.
- Refusing or failing to leave public property after hours of operation.
- Driving any vehicle upon real property belonging to or occupied by another without consent.
In order to be prove that you committed a crime of trespass, the prosecutor would need to show evidence that you intentionally entered someone else’s property, and planned to interfere with their property or business. However, there are several lines of defense you can present, including:
- You had consent to be on the property
- You did not occupy the property or deprive the owner of enjoyment
- You were not interfering or obstructing with activity on the property
- The property is considered public space, and there were no specific restrictions of access within sight
- You were unaware of any authorization laws against entering the premises
A San Diego trespassing lawyer with knowledge of California trespass laws can help you establish a strong line of defense, and potentially reduce or reverse the charges.
Penalties for Trespassing in California
If you are convicted of a crime of trespass, you may face various penalties depending on the nature and severity of the circumstances. Possible punishments entail:
- An infraction charge — fine up to $100
- A misdemeanor charge — imprisonment in county jail up to one year, and fine up to $1,000 (first-time offense)
- A felony charge — imprisonment up to three years (aggravated trespass is when you invade someone else’s property with the intent to cause harm or injury)
- Probation — in exchange for a reduced sentence, you can participate in counseling as designated by the court.
Why Hire a San Diego Trespassing Lawyer from McElfresh Law
Handling any type of criminal offense on your own can be extremely stressful. When you are charged with criminal trespass in the San Diego area, you will need to hire an experienced San Diego lawyer who is familiar with local courts and rules. The dedicated legal team at McElfresh Law believes that every client deserves quality representation, and we are here to help you reach the best possible outcome.
Attorney Jessica McElfresh has many years of experience in dealing with complex criminal laws, and negotiating with prosecutors. She will be able to assess your situation, and deliver the most effective strategy to reduce the charges against you. Contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule your free case evaluation with a skilled San Diego property crimes lawyer. We are happy to answer any legal questions you may have.