As stated in Florida Statute 810.09, in the State of Florida, including Fort Myers, trespassing is defined as the act of an individual wilfully entering a structure or conveyance without permission or invitation to do so from the owner. Equally, if after you have been ordered to leave the property or conveyance by the rightful owner but fail to do so, this can also be defined as the crime of trespassing.
The convictions that surround trespassing are a variety of misdemeanor charges, which can vary depending on the circumstance and severity of the crime. If the structure or conveyance that was trespassed upon was unoccupied, the charge is usually a second-degree misdemeanor sentencing. However, this can be extended to a first-degree misdemeanor charge if the property or conveyance had a person inside. At The Law Place, we have a team full of experienced criminal defense lawyers who are well-versed and knowledgeable in the laws in Fort Myers surrounding trespassing. If you or someone you love find yourself facing trespassing convictions, it is crucial that you seek the right legal representation. At The Law Place, we offer a non-obligatory free consultation with a criminal defense attorney who can listen and begin working towards getting your charges reduced or dropped completely. Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, meaning there is never a bad time to get into contact with our team.
To begin the legal process, contact us today at (941) 444-4444 at our Fort Myers, FL., firm.
What Are the Different Kinds of Trespassing?
The crime of trespassing varies in terms of setting, so it is important that you have an understanding of which category of trespassing your case falls under. We have simplified it as much as possible, and your criminal defense lawyer will be able to explain it to you further.
Trespass in a structure – A structure is a building that has a permanent or temporary roof covering. Equally, it has a curtilage adjacent to the building or attached to it. Usually, these surrounding grounds are used for domestic purposes, such as a garage with a garden beside it. If you are found to be trespassing on a structure, the conviction is usually a second-degree misdemeanor charge. This means you are facing 60 days in jail, a 6-month probation period, and a monetary fine of $500.
Trespass in a conveyance – A conveyance can be defined as anything that is a mode of transport, for example, a car, boat, or truck, etc. If you have been convicted of trespassing on a conveyance, this means the act was done without the original owner’s permission to do so. Equally, it is still defined as trespassing if the owner asks you to leave the conveyance and you refuse. Trespassing in a conveyance is also considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor charge. You face 60 days in jail, a 6-month probation period, as well as racking up a $500 fine.
Trespass in a dwelling – A dwelling is a building or conveyance that has a roof covering and serves the purpose of lodging at night. Dwellings include a house, guest house, trailer, or mobile home. This is classed as a first-degree misdemeanor, meaning a 1-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine as punishment.
Generally, trespassing charges can be increased to more serious crimes such as breaking and entering, assault, burglary, battery, or robbery if the trespass happened with the intent to commit other crimes. This is why it is crucial that you have strong legal representation in your corner, as your criminal defense lawyer can fight to get your charges reduced as much as possible.
The Consequences of Having a Criminal Record
It is safe to say that no-one wants to carry legal baggage around with them for the rest of their lives. If you are convicted of a serious crime, like trespassing, it comes with life-changing consequences for both you and your loved ones. As well as having legal fees and fines to worry about, listed below are some of the other aspects of your life that will be impacted by having a criminal record:
- Complications applying for higher education or continuing your existing education.
- Difficulty applying for financial support, such as bank loans or mortgages.
- Difficulty searching for employment. Many employers do not accept candidates with a criminal record.
- Difficulty in applying for a variety of licenses.
- If you have children, a criminal record can affect your visitation rights and your overall child custody.
Here at The Law Place, we understand how stressful and frightening of a time this will be for you. We know that there are many things you need to consider when moving forward with your legal battle. If you choose to contact our Fort Myers, FL., firm, you will be paired with one of your criminal defense attorneys. Our attorney-client relationship is incredibly important to us, and it will be based upon honesty and trust. Together, we can get through this.
What Are the Defenses Against Trespassing in Fort Myers, FL?
In the case of trespassing, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt several different aspects surrounding the crime. These are listed below:
- That the property in question is legally owned by another party.
- There is no evidence suggesting that permission was granted to enter the conveyance, dwelling, or structure.
- If there was original permission granted to enter the conveyance, dwelling, or structure, it must be proven that it had since been withdrawn.
- The defendant willfully entered and stayed in the place in question.
- There were clear signposts to imply that the place in question is private or closed.
It is common in trespassing cases for the defendant to be unaware that they were trespassing and did believe they had consent from the owner. Your lawyer will be able to argue this point on your behalf in the courtroom. They can question how clear the property was signposted as being closed or private. Equally, they have arguments on the grounds of communication. How clear was it? Was there an obvious and clear withdrawal of permission? As mentioned previously, the prosecution must be able to prove the above points beyond a reasonable doubt.
If there is any hint of doubt surrounding the case, this will benefit your lawyer in having your charges reduced. Something else that must be considered within your legal case is the circumstances surrounding how you came to be on the property in the first place. Was it for your safety? Was it your choice, or were you misled? The judge and jury will need to consider all of the details surrounding your case, which is why it is incredibly important that you are honest with your criminal defense lawyer. The more truthful you are with them, the better they can tailor your defense.
Further Penalties for Trespassing in Fort Myers, FL.
As mentioned previously, trespassing charges usually fall under a misdemeanor charge depending on the circumstance. In most cases in Florida, including Fort Myers, trespassing is not considered to be a violent crime. However, listed below are penalties that you can be charged for if further evidence is discovered to support the following points:
- If there is evidence to support the indication of violence, such as you being in possession of a weapon as you were trespassing a property, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of a trespass crime with violence, then you could potentially be facing a 5-year jail sentence, up to 5 years of probation, and a large fine of $5,000.
- If you were caught trespassing on a site larger than one acre, which included a warning indicating that the site was not for entry, this is also a third-degree felony- with the same punishments.
In the State of Florida, including Fort Myers, there are additional consequences in the event that you are trespassing on an agricultural property that is specifically designed for research. Equally, trespassing charges apply if you trespass on a property that is a domestic violence center or if you trespass on a property that had animals, and you killed or took an animal from the property without legal permission to do so.
Contact The Law Place in Fort Myers, FL., Today!
If you or a loved one has been convicted of trespassing, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we have 75 years of experience dealing with cases across the State of Florida, including Fort Myers. As a reputable law firm, we pride ourselves on the work we do and keep our clients at the heart of it all. We recognize that this is an uncertain time, and we want to take some of this burden from you and make the legal experience as easy as possible.
Contact us today for your free consultation, and you can begin the steps towards receiving the legal support you deserve. A member of our team will be waiting for your call – so do not hesitate to get in touch! Call today on (941) 444-4444 to be put in touch with a Fort Myers, criminal defense attorney.