The So-Called Simple Charge of Trespass
Trespass by Definition
Trespass, by definition identified in Florida Statutes 818.08, occurs when someone intentionally enters or remains in any structure or conveyance
without the owner’s express or implied permission.
A property owner may take a trespass offender into custody if he or she believes the offender has committed or is committing trespass. So, the comical movie image of Old Man Wilson detaining the neighborhood kids for walking on his grass until the authorities arrive is somewhat true!
The Charges & Penalties of Trespassing
In Florida, the charge of trespass has varying degrees of severity depending on additional details of the event.
For example, at its most basic, trespass is a misdemeanor of the second degree. But, if another person is present on the property at the time of trespass, the charge is upped to a misdemeanor of the first degree.
A misdemeanor of the second degree carries a maximum jail time of up to 60 days, and may include fines. A misdemeanor of the first degree includes imprisonment of not more than one year. Again, fines may be assessed.
What’s more, if the offender is armed or becomes armed when trespassing, the charge becomes a felony of the third degree. This charge carries a much heftier penalty with up to 5 years in prison and substantial fines.
Examples of Trespass Incidents
A woman was visiting her daughter at the hospital. However, as evening came, the hospital explained to her that visitation hours were over and she would need to leave. The woman explained that she feared leaving her daughter’s side, given her condition. The staffers at the hospital insisted she leave and instead return the next day during visiting hours. The woman refused to leave the hospital grounds and had to be forcibly removed from the grounds.
The woman was arrested for trespassing for failing to comply with the request to leave the property by an authorized agent. She was banned from hospital property for a year.
Two boys were out to cut firewood on a neighbor’s land for which they had permission to visit. As the boys worked, they crossed a fence that they believed was owned by their friendly neighbor. However, they had actually crossed into another neighbor’s property. “No trespassing” signs were posted, however, as they did not include the name of the property owner, the boys mistook the fence as their welcoming neighbor’s fence. their trespass charge was reversed. They had no unlawful intent.
One key element to remember if you are charged with trespass, the concept of “intent.” We investigated the importance of intent in our blog “The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter.”
To be charged with trespassing and be found guilty, it must be proven that you willfully entered or remained on a property to which you had no legal right to visit.
The So-Called Simple Charge of Trespass Tormenting You?
Bartlett Law Offices offers your best defense if you have been charged with any sort of crime—including trespassing, be it at a hospital, neighbor’s property or otherwise.
Visit our webpage, fill out our simple form, and we’ll call or text you back, as you prefer. Or, if you’d rather, call us Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m at 727-712-7502.
We believe that before you are in need of a second chance, you need the best defense for your first chance! Bartlett Law Offices has the experience you need to handle any criminal charges against you. You can trust that we will provide you with a professional, ethical, and knowledgeable defense.
NOTE: This information is specific to Florida. Laws in other states vary, and you should seek counsel in your own state. None of these statements is intended to replace professional counsel as to your specific issue as the nuances of the law are vast and complex.