Criminal trespassing is one of the laws that many people assume a lot about. But there is a lot more to criminal trespassing than just what comes across in the name. Not every state handles it the same, so we’re going to explore what makes criminal trespassing in Arizona unique.
We’ll first look at a couple examples of what criminal trespassing looks like in action. Then we’ll look at what penalties you would face if you were found guilty of 2nd-degree criminal trespassing in Mesa. Then we’ll look at what happens when a child is charged with criminal trespassing, since it functions a little differently for children than it does for adults.
What is Criminal Trespassing in Mesa?
In Mesa, criminal trespassing occurs when a person enters or unlawfully remains on or in a piece of property after they have been requested to leave. It can also be charged if they are there without the express permission of the owner of the property, when a cross burning is involved, or when there was a sign posted that informed that entry was trespassing.
How about we take a look at a couple examples of criminal trespassing in action:
- Somebody visiting their romantic partner at their dorm could be there with good reason but refusing to leave when a security guard asked them to could end in a criminal trespassing charge.
- If somebody is found squatting in someone else’s backyard or some woods they own, they could be charged with criminal trespassing because they failed to seek the owner’s permission to set up their tent there.
- Somebody could be charged with criminal trespassing if they ignore a no trespassing sign and enter onto the property to turn their car around.
The main way to avoid getting charged with criminal trespassing is to remember the difference between public property and private property. The legal system protects private property and the owner’s right to exercise control over who is allowed onto the property. If you don’t have permission to be on a property, then you risk being charged with criminal trespassing for being on it.
But just how bad the penalties for trespassing will be depends on the circumstances of the criminal trespassing itself.
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in Mesa?
Criminal trespassing can be charged in the first, second, or third degree. It could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on which degree it is charged as and the specific circumstances of how the law was broken.
2nd-degree criminal trespassing occurs when:
- An individual commits 2nd-degree criminal trespassing when they enter or remain on a nonresidential property or commercial fenced yard unlawful. It is a class 2 misdemeanor that is punished by a penalty of up to four months in jail and a fine of up to $750
Alongside 2nd-degree criminal trespassing, criminal trespassing can also be charged as:
- 1st-Degree Criminal Trespassing: Criminal trespassing in the first degree can be charged for a number of circumstances such as when someone enters or remains in a fenced in residential yard or structure unlawfully, when they enter a residential yard to spy into the house, when they stay on property to deprive it of a mineral claim, when they burn or deface a religious symbol on the property without the owner’s permission, or when they remain of a public services facility unlawfully. It can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. As a class 6 felony it could result in up to eighteen months in jail and a fine of up to $150,000. As a class 1 misdemeanor it could result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- 3rd-Degree Criminal Trespassing: 3rd-degree criminal trespassing occurs when an individual enters or remains unlawfully on a real property after the owner has asked them to leave or when they remain unlawfully on the tracks or yards of a railroad company. It is a class 3 misdemeanor that comes with up to thirty days in jail and a fine of up to $500
What Happens if a Child Trespasses?
Criminal trespassing for minors is very similar to how adults are treated for trespassing. They can be charged with a misdemeanor if they violate the law regarding private property and criminal trespass. However, there is one very important difference between minors and adults when it comes to criminal trespass charges.
For a minor to be charged with criminal trespass, they must have been given express written or verbal instructions telling them not to enter or remain on a particular property. This means that a no trespassing sign may not be considered enough of an instruction to stay out of the property. This is because the law understands that children have a tendency to ignore their surroundings and to get fascinated by and want to explore certain areas. 99% of the time, the child means no harm by their trespass and the state certainly doesn’t want to punish kids for being kids.
Of course, it does want to ensure that kids learn to follow and respect the law and so they can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor for juvenile trespassing. This can result in fines or probation.
What Should I Do If Charged with Criminal Trespassing in Mesa?
If you have been charged with criminal trespassing then the best thing to do is to retain the services of an experienced attorney like those at Naegle Law Firm. Criminal trespass charges can come with some serious penalties and it’s best to fight against them so that you don’t lose any of your life to jail. Even 3rd-degree criminal trespassing can come with a jail term and, even if it doesn’t, those charges can make life difficult for you down the road.
Don’t lose your time to criminal trespassing charges, reach out to Naegle Law Firm today to see how we can help.