Trespassing generally occurs when individuals intentionally enter or remain within property without the consent of the property owner. There are two distinct types of trespassing under Florida law, one involving trespassing at residences and another involving other buildings or structures. A Pompano Beach trespassing lawyer may be able to assist if you are facing either type of trespassing charges.
The consequences of a trespassing conviction can be severe, mainly if the charge is a Felony. Nonetheless, there are a variety of defenses that may apply in your trespassing case, and a criminal defense attorney from Leifert & Leifert may be instrumental in helping you work to overcome trespassing charges.
Trespassing in Structure or Conveyance
Under Florida Statutes §810.08, it is unlawful for individuals to purposely enter or remain in any structure—such as a building or home—or conveyance without authorization to do so. It is also illegal for individuals to enter any structure of conveyance with permission but then refuses to leave when the owners or their authorized representatives warn them to do so.
A violation of this statute is typically a Misdemeanor in the second degree, but it may be a first-degree Misdemeanor if a person is present in the structure or conveyance at the time of the trespass. A conviction for a second-degree Misdemeanor charge can result in a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500, and first-degree Misdemeanor trespass may result in a maximum jail sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Trespassing on Property Other than Structure or Conveyance
According to Fla. Stat. §810.09, individuals commit trespassing on property other than structure or conveyance when they intentionally enter or remain on any property on which they have noticed that they are not to enter or stay. Individuals also violate this statute if they enter and stay on the unenclosed curtilage of a residence with the intent to commit a crime other than trespassing. Unenclosed curtilage includes land, grounds, or outbuildings that are next to or connected with the residence.
This type of trespassing is a first-degree Misdemeanor under Florida law. Required elements of this offense include intent to enter or remain in the structure or conveyance and notice that unauthorized persons may not enter or stay on the property, either through direct communications, signs, or fencing.
Another necessary element of this offense is that the alleged offender must be without permission, or either implied or express, to enter or remain on the property. A Pompano Beach trespassing attorney from Leifert & Leifert could help you identify what elements of this charge, if any, may apply to your situation.
Felony Offenses Related to Trespassing
Either type of trespass becomes a third-degree Felony offense if the alleged perpetrator is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapons at the time. In this situation, the owner or anyone authorized by the owner can take into custody and detain anyone whom they reasonably believe has committed this offense, so long as they contact a Law Enforcement Officer as soon as possible following the detention.
Trespassing is also a Felony of the third degree if it occurs on a construction site, so long as the property owners have posted appropriate warning signs. However, there are specific requirements about the content and location of the warning signs for construction sites, especially concerning construction sites of one acre in size or less.
The potential sentence for third-degree Felony trespass may include five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Since a Felony conviction of this severity can have significant implications, consulting a trespassing lawyer in Pompano Beach is highly recommended.
Enlist the Assistance of a Pompano Beach Trespassing Attorney
If a property owner has accused you of trespassing, you may be facing jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. For a felony conviction, the penalties can be even more severe, including the potential loss of some of your civil rights. Enlisting the assistance of a Pompano Beach trespassing lawyer may enable you to build a strong defense against these charges and work towards a more favorable resolution of your case.
The presence of a criminal conviction on your record can impact your ability to find employment, attend college or graduate school, and even find housing. Legal representation from Leifert & Leifert may permit you to minimize or avoid some of these consequences. Call today to learn more about what we could do for you.