When a person is charged with trespassing, they may view it as a minor offense. In Broward County, trespassing is regarded as a criminal offense which may include some relatively harsh penalties. In Broward County, a person who is charged with trespassing may receive fines, probation and even incarceration. Understanding legal options and the extent of an alleged trespassing charge can quickly become overwhelming for a person unfamiliar with this area of law.
There are two primary kinds of trespass offenses that a person may be charged with in Broward County. One type of violation includes trespassing in a structure or conveyance, while the other involves trespassing on something other than a structure or conveyance. Seeking the advice of a skilled criminal defense lawyer may be beneficial to your case. A Broward County trespassing lawyer may be able to explain different legal options and possibly represent you in court.
What is Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance?
The Florida Statutes §810.08 makes it a crime to willfully enter or remain in a structure or conveyance without permission, or to willfully remain after being told to leave. A “structure” for purposes of this section typically is a building of any kind. A “conveyance” may include any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. A violation of this law may typically be considered a Second-Degree Misdemeanor, which may carry a potential punishment of a $500 fine, and up to 60 days of incarceration.
If a human being was present in the structure or conveyance at the time of the alleged trespass, the charge could be treated as a First-Degree Misdemeanor, which is typically punishable by up to a full year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The presence of a firearm or dangerous weapon in an alleged trespass may further the severity of the charge. An initial charge of trespass as a Second-Degree Misdemeanor may increase to a Third-Degree Felony if a firearm or dangerous weapon in present during the incident.
Trespass on Property other than a Structure or Conveyance
The second type of trespass in Broward County is one not involving a structure or conveyance. As a Broward County trespassing lawyer knows, this typically includes open land, yard, or curtilage. “Curtilage” is often defined as the area immediately outside of a dwelling.
According to the 2017 Florida Statute §810.09, in order for a person to be charged with a violation of the law, a defendant typically must either trespass upon curtilage with the intent to commit an offense other than trespassing, or trespass on open land which is fenced, marked, cultivated or which contains a “no trespassing” sign.
How Serious is a Trespassing Offense?
There are several other actions which may be subject to a trespass violation in Broward County. These actions may include:
- Failing to leave another’s property after being told to do so
- Opening a gate or fence so that animals could escape or come to harm
- Dumping waste on another’s property without permission
A violation as described above is a First-Degree Misdemeanor, that may carry a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The presence of a firearm can quickly complicate an initial trespassing charge. A person may be charged with a Third-Degree Felony for possessing a firearm while allegedly trespassing. A potential conviction may result in up to five years in prison and possibly a $5,000 fine.
Seeking Help from a Broward County Trespass Attorney
A trespass charge as either a Second-Degree Misdemeanor or a Third-Degree Felony could lead to severe consequences. In Broward County, a criminal defense attorney may assist through several different avenues, including fighting the charge or working to minimize the impact of a conviction.
A person charged with any form of trespassing may find a consultation with a Broward County trespassing lawyer beneficial. Understanding different legal options and how they may affect your case is an important part of potentially fighting a charge. Call Leifert & Leifert today for a free initial consultation.