The crime of trespass on a structure or conveyance is defined by Florida law as entering into a structure in a willful and deliberate manner without invitation or permission from the owner of that property. As such, it is a criminal matter in the eyes of the law and, depending on the severity of the situation in question, can either be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, a first-degree misdemeanor, or a third-degree felony punishable by a substantial fine and years in prison.
When dealing with a crime of trespass, like any other criminal matter, securing the correct level of criminal defense representation to avoid spending years in prison or astronomic fines is crucial. If you fail to secure representation from a lawyer at a reputable law firm, you could be facing a conviction that could have been entirely avoidable or at least reduced by a skilled lawyer.
Here at the Fort Myers branch of The Law Place, our criminal defense attorney team has accrued a total of over 75 years of experience in criminal law. Our team has extensive experience in Florida trespass cases and has fought hard for many people in the exact same position as you. Many of these people have been pleasantly surprised when their criminal defense attorney was able to get the charges against them reduced to a lower level of severity or dropped entirely.
However, in cases of Florida criminal law, time is of the essence. The more time your criminal defense lawyer has to establish the details of your case and to create a personalized defensive strategy, the better chance you stand at avoiding years in prison and staggering fines.
As such, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with The Law Place at the earliest opportunity that is convenient for you. Starting the process of gaining legal representation could not be easier or more risk-free. We can offer you a free consultation from the safety of your own home over the telephone. Our phone lines never close, meaning that you can call our office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to this, all our phone consultations operate on a no-obligation basis, and any of the information you chose to share there will be fully protected by attorney-client confidentiality.
If this sounds like something someone in your position would be interested in, don’t hesitate to give us a call as soon as possible at our Fort Myers branch on (941) 444-4444.
So How Do the Different Levels of Trespass Crime Work in Florida?
As Florida law can often be incredibly complex and overwhelming, it is important to be aware of the different levels of trespass crime. Each of these relates to different circumstances of varying levels of severity and carry different punishments.
The details related to the specifics of Florida trespass law are contained in Florida Statute 810.09.
We will begin our explanation of the different punishments for trespassing on a structure or conveyance with the charge of the least severe penalties.
For a free legal consultation with a trespassing of a structure or conveyance lawyer serving Fort Myers, call 941-444-4444
Trespassing on a Structure or Conveyance Resulting in a Second-Degree Misdemeanor in Florida
This represents your basic, entry-level trespassing on a structure or conveyance and is the least consequential charge possible.
This is when you are accused of the crime of trespassing on a structure or conveyance that you did not have permission or invitation to enter but was empty of any other person at the time of the trespass.
The consequences for a criminal charge of this kind are as follows:
- A jail sentence of a period up to a maximum of 60 days.
- A probationary period of 6 months following/instead of the completion of the jail sentence.
- Receiving a fine for as much as $500.
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Trespassing on a Structure or Conveyance Resulting in a First-Degree Misdemeanor in Florida
One step up from a second-degree misdemeanor trespass, this a more severe charge.
The main difference between this charge and the one previously explained is that you can receive a first-degree misdemeanor when you commit a crime of trespass in a structure or conveyance that was occupied with one or more other person at the time.
When you commit a crime of first-degree misdemeanor trespass, you can expect the punishment to result in the following:
- A sentence of incarceration, which can lead to you spending up to one entire year in jail.
- A probation period of another year, following the completion of the previously mentioned year in jail.
- Receiving a fine of up to $1,000.
As you can see, the jump in severity is quite severe when the trespass occurs on a structure or conveyance inhabited by at least one other person. A year in jail is a much more intense punishment than a simple 60 days.
As such, you should employ the very best criminal defense attorney available to avoid this year in jail. Sacrificing a large chunk of your life, a year’s worth of potential earnings, and disrupting your family and professional life should be avoided where possible.
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Trespassing on a Structure or Conveyance Resulting in a Third-Degree Felony in Florida
This represents another large step up in the severity of trespass crime. The charges get upgraded to a third-degree felony when you commit a crime of trespassing on a structure or conveyance while armed with some kind of firearm or another type of potentially dangerous weapon.
Trespass on a structure or conveyance while armed with a weapon is a third-degree felony punishable by:
- A sentence of incarceration that can result in you spending a maximum of 5 years in prison.
- As with the other levels of trespass crimes, you can expect up to another 5 years of probation after completing your 5 years in prison.
- Receiving a fine that could go as high as $5,000.
- You will also receive a felony-level charge on your criminal record. This can never be removed by any means. We will explain how this can impact your life in the next section.
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Why a Felony Conviction Should Be Avoided at All Costs
Committing a third-degree felony punishable by 5 years in jail, 5 years of probation and a $5,000 fine is obviously something that no person wants.
However, arguably the most insidious part of a felony conviction is the impact it can have on your life far after you have served your time.
A felony can never be expunged or sealed from your criminal record, not even by the very best criminal lawyers in all of America. This is because there is simply no legal process for doing so. This means that your felony history will follow you for the rest of your life, even outside the State of Florida.
When a person has a felony charge on their criminal record, that person will undoubtedly have increased difficulty in:
- Achieving worthwhile and competitively salaried employment. All prospective employers will be able to see that you are a felon. If this does not prevent you from getting a competitive job, it may certainly still harm the level of pay you are offered for that job.
- Pursuing or furthering your education. Many establishments will not take on new students who have a history of felony-level crime. If they do, you can expect it to be difficult or impossible to receive educational grants or scholarships to make the financial side of education easier.
- It will also be harder for a person with a felony on their record to receive credit.
- A person may also struggle with accommodation and housing-related issues. Banks may be unwilling to offer a mortgage, and rental agreements can be harder to get.
- There are several different types of licenses unavailable for a person convicted of a felony.
- There are also many more highly specific circumstances where a felony record can be a hindrance. A good example of this would be in a custody battle, where the eyes of the law are more likely to judge the parent without the felony charge as the more suitable guardian for the children.
As you can see, getting convicted of a third-degree felony level of trespass should be avoided by any means necessary.
The Law Place in Florida has a track record of getting their client’s charges diminished, if not dropped entirely. This is extremely helpful for this level of offense, as once the charge is dropped to the level of misdemeanor, the possibility of a permanent and non-removable criminal record disappears.
How Is a Structure or Conveyance Defined in Florida Law?
The parameters defining a structure or conveyance in the eyes of the law are covered in Florida Statute 810.011.
This statute defines a structure as any type of building covered by a roof with attached curtilage. This includes both permanent and temporary structures.
This basically means that most private buildings are considered structures eligible for trespass charges. Even a shed in somebody’s domestic garden can result in a trespass charge.
A conveyance is defined as equipment meant for transportation use. This extends the bounds of trespass to vehicles such as cars, boats, and trucks.
Can a Person Still Trespass If They Were Initially Invited Into the Structure?
In Fort Myers, as with elsewhere in Florida, it is still possible to trespass if you were initially invited into the building or conveyance.
This happens when the person who owns the property rescinds their invitation. If you fail to leave when that person has asked you to, it then becomes a case of trespass in the eyes of Florida law.
What Are Some Common Trespass Defenses?
Luckily, there are many established legal precedents that your Fort Myers criminal lawyer can use to defend you at your trial.
These commonly used defenses include the following:
- The defendant was not, in fact, present at the building, structure, or conveyance that they are accused of trespassing on. This defense works best with a solid alibi.
- The defendant received an invitation onto the property that was not rescinded in a clear or perceivable way.
- The defendant did not remain on the property willfully. They may have been forced by extenuating circumstances that meant that it was not possible for them to leave the structure.
- The defendant received implied or explicit consent to remain on the property in question.
- The officers who arrested the defendant were not present on the property when the alleged trespassing happened.
- The property did not feature clear ‘no trespassing’ signs to make it clear it was private and inaccessible property.
- The defendant was entirely unaware that they were on private property, and therefore, had no intention to trespass.
If you choose representation from The Law Place in Fort Myers, you will also benefit from our professional policy of defense personalization.
After we have discussed the specifics of your case at length, your lawyer will work tirelessly to tailor-make the best defense possible for your case. This may incorporate elements listed above, as there is a lot of nuances available in Florida’s trespass laws.
This will mean that you stand the best chance of having the trespass charge held against you either diminished to a less severe charge or even, in some cases, dropped entirely.
The Burden of Proof in Florida
As a trespass case is an example of criminal law and not civil law, the burden of proof works differently from your average slip and fall or negligence case.
The responsibility for proof lies squarely on the government in this type of case. This means that the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt lies with the prosecution. If there is any doubt on your level of guilt, your Florida lawyer will be able to work within this to get the charges against you dropped or reduced.
How Much Does a Lawyer From The Law Place Cost?
Unfortunately, we cannot give you a specific quote on this page. This is because of the huge amount of variation on a case-by-case basis. Previous criminal history or complicating factors can mean that defense will cost more.
However, we are committed to openness and honesty. Following your free case evaluation, you will receive a full and total quote, which will include no hidden costs or nasty surprises. We can also work together to come up with an affordable payment plan if that would be easier for you.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are a person, who has been charged with a trespass crime in Florida, ensuring you get the best representation is incredibly important.
To benefit from The Law Place’s 75 years of combined experience in criminal law, call us today for a free telephone consultation at no-obligation. Our lines remain open always. Furthermore, you do not need to worry about what you disclose during the phone call, as all of our calls are legally protected by the bounds of the attorney-client relationship. There are no risks to starting your case today.
For more information and free, impartial legal advice, please call today at (941) 444-4444.
Call or text 941-444-4444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form