Trespassing is classed as a very serious crime in St. Petersburg and elsewhere in the State of Florida, and a conviction usually results in a harsh sentence. The penalties that a defendant may face include a lengthy jail sentence, probation, heavy fines, and a criminal record that will likely impact your life for decades to come. Because of these severe penalties, it’s crucial that if you’ve been accused of or charged with the trespassing of a structure or conveyance in St. Petersburg, you seek the advice of a knowledgable criminal defense attorney.
The defense lawyers at The Law Place are well-equipped to handle your case. They have over 75 years of collective experience in helping clients facing charges similar to yours, and so you can trust that our team has seen it all before and will be prepared for any challenges that your case and trial may produce. We offer a free case evaluation for anyone who’s facing criminal charges, where you’ll be able to speak to a highly skilled lawyer about the best legal options that are available for you and get trusted answers to any questions you may have.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us now to schedule a free consultation!
How Does the State of Florida Define Criminal Trespass?
Under Florida Statute 810.08, anyone can be arrested for trespassing if they:
“Without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enter or remain in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuse to do so.”
Essentially, this means that you can be charged with trespassing if you willfully enter someone else’s property without their permission or refuse to leave after the property owner has told them to.
If you have been charged with any type of trespassing, then you will need a criminal defense attorney on your side to reduce the chances of a conviction.
There are two different types of trespass in Florida. These are trespass in a structure or conveyance and trespass on property other than a structure of conveyance.
Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance
If you willfully enter any type of structure or conveyance without the permission of the owner, then you can be charged with trespassing in a structure or a conveyance. This law also applies to situations where someone has been authorized to be on the property but remained after being told to leave. Under Florida statute, a structure or conveyance can include any building, dwelling, or other enclosed space with a roof and any type of transportation, such as cars or boats.
The offense of trespassing on a structure or conveyance is usually considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor. However, this can be raised to a first-degree misdemeanor if someone else was present in the structure of conveyance during the trespass, or even to a third-degree felony if the trespasser was armed with a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm, at the time.
Trespass on Property Other than a Structure or Conveyance
However, you can also be charged with trespassing on a property that is not a structure or conveyance. Like with the first category, trespassers will be arrested if they’re caught willfully entering or remaining in any property that’s not a structure of conveyance without authorization, a license, or an invitation.
This is usually a first-degree misdemeanor, but it can be raised to a third-degree felony if the trespasser was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time.
Penalties for Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance in St. Petersburg, FL.
Usually, trespassing in a structure or conveyance is classed as a second-degree misdemeanor and, if convicted, defendants face the following penalties:
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to six months probation.
- Up to $500 in fines.
However, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could end up being charged with a much more serious offense, which means that the penalties you face will increase.
Trespass in an Occupied Structure or Conveyance
If you’ve been charged with trespassing in a structure or conveyance that was occupied, meaning that the owner or other people were present at the time, then you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for this include the following:
- Up to one year in jail.
- Up to one-year probation.
- Up to $1,000 in fines.
Armed Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance
If you were armed while trespassing, then you will be charged with a third-degree felony. Being armed is defined as being in possession of a firearm or another dangerous weapon, and you could be facing the following penalties:
- Up to five years in jail.
- Up to five years probation.
- Up to $5,000 in fines.
How Can a Criminal Record Impact Your Life?
As well as potentially being sentenced to the penalties listed above, if you are convicted of trespassing, then you will have a permanent criminal record. A criminal record could have a devastating impact on your future, and consequences often include the following:
- Struggling to obtain employment.
- Difficulty in applying and/or continuing education.
- Difficulty in successfully applying for any financial help from banks, such as mortgages or loans.
- Struggling to obtain certain licenses.
- Difficulty in securing child custody or visitation rights.
These unofficial consequences for a conviction of trespassing, on top of the penalties you could be sentenced to, are incredibly severe, and you may not deserve this. In order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding these harsh consequences, you need to hire a talented St. Petersburg lawyer. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place boast extensive knowledge regarding the Florida legal system and have successfully represented many clients in court against charges similar to yours. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation to anyone who’s been accused of a trespass offense, so contact us now and book yours today!
Statute of Limitations for Trespass of a Structure or Conveyance in Florida
Under Florida Statute 775.15, suspects must be charged with a criminal offense within a certain time after the crime has been committed. This is known as the statute of limitations.
For cases involving trespassing charges in St. Petersburg, Florida, prosecutors have a limited time to bring charges. This time limit depends on the severity of the crime and follows the outline that’s explained below:
- Second-degree misdemeanor – One year.
- First-degree misdemeanor – Two years.
- Third-degree felony – Three years.
However, if the suspect does not live in Florida, or can’t be located by Florida law enforcement, then prosecutors have an additional year to press charges against them.
For more information that’s specific to your case, contact The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation.
What Must the Prosecution Prove?
There are certain elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to successfully secure a conviction at a trespassing trial. These elements are the following:
- The defendant willingly entered or remained in the structure or conveyance, or they willfully refused to leave after being asked to do so by the property owner or lessee.
- The structure or conveyance involved was in the lawful possession of the person alleging the trespass.
- The person alleging the trespass did not give the defendant expressed or implied permission to enter or remain in their structure or conveyance.
It will be the job of your criminal defense attorney to prevent the prosecution from successfully proving these elements. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this can be difficult to do, and so it’s crucial that you hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer who you trust to do their best to secure a favorable result. Our proficient team of attorneys is ready to fight on your behalf, so contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation!
What Is a Trespass Warning in St. Petersburg, Florida?
A trespass warning is any signage that is used to warn people of property lines and state the penalties for entering the property without the property owner’s permission. These warnings are often used in trespass cases to prove that the defendant was aware that they were entering private property and didn’t have the required permission to do so.
Structures and conveyances don’t need a trespass warning in order to bring charges against people for committing trespass there. However, unenclosed plots of private land do need a trespass warning to inform people of the property lines and penalties they could face if they cross these lines without permission.
Even if there was a trespass warning on the structure or conveyance that you trespassed on, a skillful lawyer might still be successful in fighting your charges. Contact The Law Place today to discuss your options with a knowledgable St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney.
Common Defenses Used Against Charges of Trespass in St. Petersburg, FL.
Although every case is different, there is a wide range of legal defenses that will be available to your criminal defense attorney to contest your charge of trespass. While they would likely need to be tailored to your specific case, some of the most common defenses are listed below:
- There are factual disputes regarding the alleged trespasser’s presence.
- The property owner did not communicate their desire for the defendant to not enter.
- The property owner did not communicate their desire for the defendant to leave the premises once they’d been invited.
- The defendant did not willfully enter or remain on the property.
- The defendant was unaware that the property was private.
- There was either an expressed or implied invitation for the defendant to enter or remain on the property.
- The property owner or lessee withdrew their request for the defendant to leave the premises.
- The alleged victim lacked the authority to deny or withdraw permission from the defendant.
- The agent of the property owner did not have the authority to order the removal or bar entry.
- There was no notice.
- The notice was not adequately posted.
- There were conflicting communications given to the defendant.
Here at The Law Place, our team understands that you may have made a simple mistake and didn’t mean any harm, and so you do not deserve to be convicted of such a harsh crime or face such a severe punishment. The sooner you seek legal help from our law firm, the better, as we’ll immediately begin working on building a solid defense and creating strong legal representation on your behalf. We will fight tirelessly for the best result possible for your case, whether that’s getting your charges dropped or reduced, securing an acquittal, or the most lenient penalties possible. So don’t delay – call us today and schedule a free case evaluation.
Why Is Legal Representation So Important?
If you have been arrested for trespassing and are facing charges, then we strongly advise you to seek legal advice. If you face the courts without professional legal representation, then you will be putting yourself in a much worse position and could be risking being wrongfully charged. Therefore, it’s crucial that you get in touch with a reputable law firm, even if you only want some guidance rather than full support. At The Law Place, our team of highly experienced and skilled lawyers is ready to help you in any way they can.
The Florida legal system is complex and not easy to understand unless you have years of experience like our legal team. However, if you choose to work with us, we will help you understand the legal process and what is happening with your case, so you are never in the dark or confused. Our law firm has a commendable reputation when it comes to arguing for charges to be reduced or dismissed, and we pride ourselves on building strong, trusting relationships with our clients.
By hiring any of our attorneys at The Law Place, you will be giving yourself the best chance at securing a favorable outcome.
The Law Place Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been charged with trespassing in the State of Florida, then you should get in touch with The Law Place today. If you go to court without adequate legal representation, then you will likely be setting yourself up for a conviction, so don’t delay in contacting us.
The criminal defense team at our law firm is highly experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified, so you can trust that working with us is one of your best options! We will rigorously investigate your case and gather all relevant evidence that can help strengthen your defense, giving us the best chance at securing a favorable outcome on your behalf.
The Florida legal system can be confusing and difficult to navigate, so ensure that a skilled criminal defense lawyer is taking care of your case, meaning you no longer have to stress. The sooner you call us, the more time we’ll have to work on your case, so don’t wait any longer!
Let us help you beat the charges you’re facing. Call us today. Our phone lines are open 24/7.