, How to Beat a Trespassing Charge

How to Beat a Trespassing Charge

Criminal trespassing in Florida is a serious crime, as it can lead to probation, fines, or significant jail time. It can also stay on your public record and appear in background checks, posing as a roadblock for things such as hiring or leasing. 

If you have been charged with trespassing, it is in your best interest to do what is necessary to beat this charge.

In this guide, our team at Mike G Law will cover how to beat a trespassing charge. We will use our extensive experience and knowledge to educate you on everything you need to know and inform you of what to expect along the way.

How Is Trespassing Defined in FL Law?

According to Florida law, trespassing is when a person willfully enters property without receiving an acceptable invitation or acquiring the proper licensing or authorization. This charge can also occur if a person enters a property with permission but refuses to leave even after the rightful occupant or owner asks them to.

What Is the Punishment for Those Charged With & Found Guilty of Trespassing?

The punishment for individuals charged with and found guilty of trespassing will vary depending on the circumstances. 

Florida law classifies trespassing on a property other than a structure or conveyance as a first-degree misdemeanor. This charge can result in up to one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

The punishments will become much more severe based on the specifics of the crime. For example, if the individual was carrying a firearm or possessing another dangerous weapon, they will face more serious consequences. An individual would also face harsher punishments if they were hunting an endangered game or fur-bearing animal.

The location of the crime can also impact a person’s punishment. If an individual trespassed in any of the following areas, a court could upgrade the charge to a third-degree felony:

  • An agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility
  • A domestic violence center
  • An agricultural site for research or testing purposes
  • A posted construction site

An offender who commits a third-degree felony can face up to five years of probation, five years of jail time, or a $5,000 fine for their crimes. 

It is essential to enlist the services of a qualified lawyer to achieve the best possible outcome. Without professional legal help, an individual may face severe punishments that were otherwise avoidable. It is best to contact an experienced attorney like Mike G, who can help you understand your situation and follow the best course of action.

Why Might Charges Be Dropped in a Case of Trespassing?

A court will sometimes drop a trespassing charge, and the reasons will vary. For instance, the owner of the premises or building where the misdemeanor crime took place might submit a notice to the court that their harm has been satisfied. In this case, the court can drop the charges altogether. 

However, this scenario is rare for a felony case. This is because the state of Florida, rather than a private citizen, brings criminal charges against a potential offender.

A court might also drop a trespassing case if it lacks sufficient incriminating evidence. For example; if the arresting officer did not actually witness the crime, they have no grounds for a solid case and may be forced to drop it. 

What Are Common Defenses of Trespassing?

A knowledgeable, experienced lawyer will evaluate your scenario and prepare a well-rounded defense for your trespassing case.

Some common defenses to familiarize yourself with when learning how to beat a trespassing charge include:

Lack of Presence

This defense is one of the most basic ones that a defendant can consider when understanding how to beat a trespassing charge. Security cameras might have captured an individual who looked like you on the property at the time of the crime. But if you know you were not present, an attorney can help you prove this fact. They will develop an alibi to confirm your innocence.

Lack of Notice or Improper Notice

If an individual was unaware that they were not allowed on a property, they might have sufficient grounds to dismiss a charge. 

“No trespassing” signs must be visible and meet certain requirements. These requirements vary depending on the nature of the sign, but include:

  • Signs must be clearly visible from beyond the boundary of the property
  • Signs may be placed no further than 500 feet apart 
  • Sign lettering must be no less than two inches in height for visibility
  • Signs must be placed at all typical entrances to the property

If a property owner fails to post adequate signage (or any signs altogether), a court can assume that an offender was unaware that their presence was not welcome. 

No Notice to Depart

This defense can be one of the most effective when approaching a trespassing charge.

An individual may assume it is okay to remain on a property if the owner allowed them onto it and did not notify them to depart. A property owner needs to give a once-welcomed visitor a warning that they need to leave. If they do not, there are likely no grounds for a legitimate trespassing charge. 

Lack of Intent

In some cases, prosecutors can lean on an individual’s stealthy entry as a means to prove that said individual entered the property with negative intent. If the entrance can be seen as more public or casual, your attorney can argue a lack of malicious intent.

Public or Private Necessity

Did you enter a property to protect public safety, yourself, or a family member from death or serious bodily injury? Whether you entered onto the property to seek safety or refused to leave to maintain safety, you might have a solid defense.

Call Mike G Law to Take on Your Trespassing Charge

Are you facing a trespassing charge? You should not have to navigate your case alone. Contact Mike G Law for legal assistance today; with 25 years of experience as a prosecutor, he is well-equipped to handle the fine details of your case. Schedule a free consultation, and you can discuss the specifics of your case. From there, Mike G will establish realistic expectations and help achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

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