While the crime of trespassing in a building may not seem all that serious, in fact you could face penalties for the offense which include spending time behind bars. Criminal trespass occurs when you enter onto and remain upon the property belonging to another person without that person’s permission—whether express or implied. Florida Statutes, Section 810.08 details the crime of trespassing onto a conveyance or structure as willfully entering or remaining in a building or conveyance. This statute can also apply when you were once allowed onto the premises in question, but later have been warned not to come onto the premises again.
For purposes of this statute, a “conveyance” is defined as a sleeping car, an aircraft, a trailer, an automobile, or a boat, vessel or ship. Therefore, if you willfully enter one of these conveyances or a structure, knowing that you are not allowed to enter, yet you enter and remain, you could be found guilty of trespass in the state of Florida. Trespassing in this manner is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, but you could find yourself facing enhancements to the offense if you are armed, or if the structure or conveyance is occupied.
If you are armed when you commit the crime of trespass, you could be charged with a third-degree felony, rather than a second-degree misdemeanor—a significant difference. If the structure or conveyance is occupied at the time you commit the offense of trespass, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, rather than a second-degree misdemeanor.
Penalties Associated with a Conviction for Trespass in the State of Florida
If there are no enhancements associated with your offense, you could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Fines as high as $500;
- Six months of probation, or
- A maximum of sixty days in jail.
If enhancements to your offense exist, you could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor facing up to a year in jail or up to a year of probation and fines as large as $1,000 for trespassing in an occupied structure or conveyance. Furthermore, if you are armed at the time you commit the crime of trespass if an occupied structure or conveyance, you could be charged with a third degree felony facing up to five years of probation, a maximum of five years in jail and fines as large as $5,000.
Potential Defenses to the Crime of Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance
The quicker you have an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney by your side, the quicker he or she can begin building your defense to the crime of trespassing. While your defense will be based on the circumstances surrounding your charges, the following defenses are commonly used for this offense:
- You lacked the intent to trespass. The crime of trespassing is generally committed in a secretive manner when a person knows they are not supposed to enter the structure or conveyance. If there was no secretiveness involved, then you may not have known you did not have permission to enter the specific structure or conveyance, therefore there was no intent to trespass.
- There is a stale or rescinded warning in place. In other words, if at some point in the past you were warned to stay away from the structure or conveyance by one person, but another person connected to the structure or conveyance later allowed you to come back or invited you to come back, then you did not know you were committing the act of trespass.
- There was no communication asking you to depart the structure or conveyance after you were invited.
- The alleged victim of the crime does not have the authority to deny your prior permission to be present.
- The structure or conveyance was not properly posted, therefore you did not realize you were trespassing.
Getting the Help You Need from a Criminal Defense Attorney
Calling a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place as soon as possible after you have been charged with trespass is crucial to the outcome of those charges. We have helped many people in the same situation, and understand the need to minimize the consequences, both short-term and long-term. Contact a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.