In Florida, trespassing is defined as knowingly entering or remaining on a property, vehicle, building, or on school grounds without permission. Trespassing usually occurs when a person intentionally ignores posted warning signs, such as “no trespassing,” “employees only,” and “no entry,” or if a person enters a fenced yard or school buildings and facilities.
It may seem like trespassing is a relatively minor crime, but it is considered a misdemeanor or even a felony under Florida law, depending on the facts and circumstances.
That is why it is important to discuss your case with a West Palm Beach trespassing lawyer. A skilled defense attorney can fight to help get you the best possible outcome in your individual case.
Types of Trespassing
There are three general types of trespassing crimes that may warrant the attention of a trespassing attorney in West Palm Beach:
- Trespassing in a building or vehicle, such as a business, car, or boat
- Trespassing on private property, such as land or a residence
- Trespassing on school grounds
It is considered “trespassing” if you intentionally enter or stay in a building, private property, vehicle, or school property without authorization and after receiving a warning, either verbal or written, to leave.
Possible Penalties for Trespassing
The penalties for criminal trespassing vary widely based on the type of trespass, whether or not the property is occupied or unoccupied at the time of the trespass, if you commit another crime while trespassing, and whether or not you are armed. Trespassing charges can be enhanced if you have been previously warned to stay off or out of the property.
A person charged with trespassing could face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine or up to five years in prison with $5,000 in fines (Florida Statutes Sections 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084.) For example, if a person intentionally enters a private building or opens a gate or fence to enter a plot of land without permission, he or she could face second-degree misdemeanor trespassing charges, resulting in up to 60 days in jail.
However, if another person is in the building or on the land at the time, the trespass could be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a year in jail. Same situation if the person has been previously warned not to trespass.
Trespassing in Florida could also be charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines, if a person:
- Is armed with a dangerous weapon
- Enters school property without permission, either armed or unarmed
- Shoots at animals with a weapon such as a crossbow or gun
- Unlawfully enters a construction site, domestic violence center, agricultural research site, or horticultural site
When trespassing is alleged to have occurred, a West Palm Beach lawyer should be consulted.
Potential Trespassing Defenses
It may seem like you have no options when you have been charged with trespassing, but that is not true. A West Palm Beach attorney could fight to defend you against trespassing charges. Some potential defenses include:
- You were never warned not to enter the property or asked to leave
- It was an unintentional or accidental trespass
- You had permission to be on the property
- Warning signs were improperly posted
- You never actually entered the property
Work With a West Palm Beach Trespassing Attorney Today
Florida trespassing laws can be complex and confusing, not to mention overwhelming, especially if you have been arrested, or are currently being investigated, for trespassing. You probably have a lot of questions and concerns.
A West Palm Beach trespassing lawyer can not only answer those questions and provide you with important legal advice, but also give you the support you need to put any trespassing charges behind you. Contact a Palm Beach County trespassing lawyer today to learn how they can help fight for your rights.