In Florida, it’s against the law to enter someone else’s property without express permission. Depending on the circumstances, you could be arrested for criminal trespass. It’s important to know the components of this charge.
What is criminal trespass?
Trespassing is a crime that occurs when a person knowingly and willingly enters someone else’s property without permission from the owner to be there. It’s also possible for someone to be charged with the crime when they were invited to the property by the owner but then were asked to leave and refused to do so.
Normally, trespassing is charged as a misdemeanor. However, when a person commits trespass when they are armed with a deadly weapon, they can be charged with a third-degree felony. It doesn’t matter if the individual never uses the gun or knife they have on their person during the commission of the crime as they can still be charged with criminal trespass.
In order to show that a person is guilty of criminal trespass, the prosecution must prove that they intended to commit the offense. Without the element of intent, it might be challenging to prove the defendant is guilty. For example, in a case where the individual had permission to be on the property, the owner must have clearly communicated that they wanted the person to leave.
What are the potential penalties for criminal trespass?
If a person is convicted of criminal trespass, they can face serious penalties. As a felony in the third degree, a conviction of criminal trespass includes up to five years in state prison or a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Anyone who has faced charges of criminal trespass should have a strong defense in their case to show that they were wrongfully charged. A conviction can dramatically change your life.