Under California laws, trespassing can be both a criminal and civil offense. This means that if you trespass on someone else’s property, the owner can sue you in civil court and you can also face criminal charges from the state.
A criminal trespass charge can result in serious criminal consequences. If you are convicted on the charges, you can face possible jail time and/or fines, and also a mark on your criminal record. It is best to immediately hire an experienced Central Valley criminal defense attorney to fight trespassing charges.
What Is Criminal Trespassing?
California’s criminal trespassing laws are defined under Penal Code 602 PC. The law itself is considerably broad and it can be applied in different circumstances. The crime of trespassing is generally defined as intentionally entering and/or remaining on someone else’s property without permission or a legal right. Examples that may constitute criminal trespassing under Penal Code 602 PC include:
- Entering and occupying property or structures of another person without permission of the owner
- Cutting down, destroying, or injuring any kind of wood or timber on another person’s property
- Digging, taking, or carrying away from any land that belongs to the city without the license of the proper authorities
- Entering another person’s property with the intent to injure the property or interfere with the owner’s property rights
- Driving a vehicle on property not open to the public
- Carrying away wood or timber from someone else’s property
- Tearing down fences or enclosures to enter property without the consent of the owner.
This is not an exhaustive list of examples of criminal trespassing. Regardless of what the specific charges are against you, it is imperative that you immediately consult with a criminal attorney in Central Valley to protect your legal rights.
Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in California
Criminal trespassing can be categorized either as an infraction or misdemeanor offense. This means that if you are convicted of trespassing, you can face a possible minimum sentence of a $100 fine and a possible maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a fine of no more than $1,000.
Criminal trespassing charges can be aggravated under California Penal Code 601 PC if you make a credible threat of bodily harm while on the property and return within 30 days with the intent to carry out that threat. If the charges are aggravated, you can face a possible minimum sentence of one year in jail and a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been arrested or charged with a crime that you did not commit, it is important that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or (559) 314-2796, or complete our online form.