Trespass Attorney in Tampa, FL
Trespass charges are relatively minor in the legal scheme of things, but they can have important consequences, including jail time under some circumstances. Trespass may also seem like a simple crime, but there are layers to the law that make it a very bad idea to attempt to deal with trespass charges without legal representation.
If you or a loved one are facing trespass charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa trespass criminal defense lawyer, today.
Trespass Defined in Tampa, FL
To commit trespass you must willfully enter property without the owner’s permission or stay after you’ve been told to leave. As a practical matter, the owner must give you a so-called “trespass warning,” asking you to leave or not to enter the property in the first place, before your presence can amount to criminal trespass. Penalties for trespass vary substantially depending on the type of property involved, whether anyone else is there, and whether the threat of violence is present. Any trespass involving guns or dangerous weapons, for example, is a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years in prison; a special provision in the law allows property owners or their agents to detain armed trespassers until police arrive.
Trespass on a Structure or Conveyance in Tampa, FL
A structure is any building with walls and a roof. A conveyance is any kind of vehicle. To trespass on a structure or conveyance is to willfully enter or remain on the property without authorization, license or invitation. Generally speaking, trespass on a structure or a conveyance is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by at most 60 days in jail. If the structure or conveyance is occupied at the time of the trespass, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in jail.
Trespass on Property Other than a Structure or Conveyance in Tampa, FL
“Property other than a structure or conveyance” is a legal term that includes a wide array of property, from open agriculture to industrial facilities. To trespass on this kind of property, an offender must willfully enter or remain without authorization, license or invitation. Notice against entering is required by statute, either directly to the offender or by posted signs. It is also trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance to enter or remain on the yard surrounding a dwelling with intent to commit another crime there. Generally speaking, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by as much as a year in jail. But it is a third-degree felony, with a five-year maximum sentence, to trespass on a construction site, a horticultural property, agricultural research land, an agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility or a domestic violence center, as long as proper no-trespassing signs are posted. Committing trespass by firing a gun or other projectile weapon across someone else’s land while hunting is also a third-degree felony with the same penalties.
Trespass on School Grounds in Tampa, FL
Special laws cover trespass on school property. Trespassing on the property of any school, primary, secondary or post-secondary, while carrying a weapon is a third-degree felony and carries penalties that include a maximum of five years. Simple trespass on school grounds — entering or remaining without legitimate business, authorization, license or invitation, or after being suspended or expelled — is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days at most. Entering or failing to leave after a school official has given warning to leave is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum one-year penalty. School officials have the authority to hold trespassers until police arrive.