If you or a loved one have been arrested for trespassing, you will need a skilled and experienced Fresno trespassing defense attorney to help you defeat your charges and clear your name. An arrest for trespassing can result from many different situations, and often times people are confused or surprised that they are being charged with a crime at all. While you may think that your arrest is unreasonable, many property cases that involve trespassing charges are prosecuted very seriously, and often result in jail time and large fines. To speak with a skilled and understanding Fresno property crimes attorney about your trespassing case, contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible.
Call our office at (559) 443-7442.
How California Law Defines Trespassing
Trespassing is defined in California Penal Code section 602 as deliberately entering, or remaining on, the property of someone else without their permission. To be found guilty of trespassing, it must be shown that you had the specific intent to be doing what is specified in your charge. This intent can be shown not just by your words, but also by the purposefulness of your actions in the events that resulted in your arrest.
To prove that you are guilty of trespassing, each of the following three elements must be shown:
- You willfully entered someone else’s property
- You had the intention to interfere with someone else’s rights
- You interfered with their rights by assaulting them, damaging their property, or disturbing their business
Many people think of trespassing as going to someone’s house when you are not welcome. While this is certainly a case of trespassing, your experienced Fresno trespassing lawyer has seen many instances where a trespassing charge catches someone by surprise. Other examples of trespassing may include:
- Refusing to leave someone else’s property even if you were initially welcome there
- Going to someone’s property with the objective to somehow disrupt their business
- Occupying or traveling upon someone else’s land even if it is deserted
- Going somewhere with the intent to disturb or intimidate a specific person who is rightfully there
- Taking natural objects such as wood, stone, or soil from someone’s property
- Refusing a security screening at a government building or airport
Possible Penalties for Trespassing
A conviction for a trespassing charge can be misdemeanors or felonies, and the severity of the punishment that you receive varies greatly depending on the details of your case. Many trespass convictions result in misdemeanors. If you’re convicted, you face up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, trespassing is considered a “wobbler” in California, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of your case and your criminal history.
If you are convicted of a felony trespass offense, you can spend up to three years in county jail and be fined up to $2,000. Most trespassing cases that are tried as felonies are situations where the defendant is accused of aggravated trespass. Aggravated crimes are considered to be more serious due to their circumstances, and you can be convicted of aggravated trespass if you did the following:
- In order to make someone else fear for their safety, you made a credible threat to seriously injure that person or their family
- Within 30 days of threatening that person, you entered their home or work with the intention to carry out your threat.
Defenses to an Accusation of Trespass
A skilled Fresno property crimes attorney understands that the prosecution must prove every point of their charge against you in order to gain a conviction. We know that each case is different, and we review every detail in order to provide you the best defense possible. A California trespassing defense lawyer will fight to have your charges reduced or completely dismissed. Some of the arguments that your lawyer may use to prove your innocence could include:
- You actually had consent to be on the property. Someone may have invited you in, and then accuse you of trespassing.
- You had a right to be on the property. Situations such as this include if you have an ownership right on the property, or if it’s a public space.
- The property was not clearly marked or fenced off. People in public spaces often wander onto private property by accident.
- You did not actually obstruct or interfere someone on the property as is alleged in your accusation.
Talk to a Fresno Trespassing Defense Attorney Today
People often feel that trespassing crimes are all similar in details, but this is by no means the case. If someone accuses you of being an unwelcome visitor or threatening them in some way, you may be surprised to find yourself arrested for trespassing. Given the details of your case, you can be facing incarceration if found guilty. If you have been arrested for trespass, you need to contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
While you may feel that a trespassing accusation is a simple misunderstanding or something that can easily be cleared up, your criminal prosecution for a property crime can result in jail time and large fines. Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer is a reputable criminal defense law firm in Fresno. Our staff understands how these crimes are aggressively pursued, and attorney Mike knows what must be done in order to protect your rights and clear your name. Do not wait to seek legal help if charges for trespassing are filed against you.