Trespass is both its own crime and also provides a portion of the elements for a burglary allegation. This crime can occur just about anywhere but most commonly occurs on the property of another, at the home of another, or in a business where an individual has been asked to leave or is alleged to have committed a theft while there on a prior occasion. Generally a trespass is when an individual who isn’t authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure, conveyance or property other than a structure or conveyance. Alternatively, a person can be authorized, licensed or invited and then have such permission revoked and refuse to leave and thus commit a crime. As a general rule whether charged under Florida Statute 810.08 or 810.09, unless the individual is armed with firearm or other dangerous weapon, they will receive a first or second degree misdemeanor. Obviously if the individual is carrying a dangerous weapon or firearm their penalty could be more severe, resulting in a third degree felony. Our Tampa trespass attorneys have both prosecuted and defended hundreds of allegations of these allegations. Each Tampa criminal attorney in our firm is well aware of the defenses and possible penalties involved in a trespass allegation and are ready to fight for your rights.
IS THERE A DEFENSE?
Because this crime can occur simply by an individual wandering onto the property of another when they aren’t authorized, there is always the prospective defense of lack of notice that the person wasn’t allowed to be there. Often teenagers are charged with this while hanging out on property of another. In their mind they are doing nothing wrong. If there isn’t a “no trespassing” sign posted in plain view a defense can certainly be made that they didn’t know they were trespassing. In the event of a mistaken trespass it is certainly plausible for a Tampa criminal lawyer to argue to a jury that the incident was nothing more than a mistake and to criminally convict someone of a mistake would be improper.
As for being in an establishment legally and subsequently being asked to leave and refusing, forming a defense is a bit more difficult. In instances such as these it is best to remove yourself from the situation upon request. Florida Statute 810.08(c) allows a shopkeeper or owner of an establishment to detain an individual until police can arrive if they believe they are carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon. Why any shopkeeper or owner would take this risk is beyond me but in the event you are a concealed weapon’s person who is reasonable and does not use force, it would be best to leave when asked so as to avoid lawful detainer.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Trespass is more often than not charged as a misdemeanor but if there is suspicion of other criminal activity an individual could be looking at the much more serious charge of burglary. Regardless, this is a property crime that will go on your record and will stay there unless you are eligible to seal your record. In today’s job market even something so simple as a slap on the wrist misdemeanor on your record could be the difference between getting a job and losing it to the next guy. Our trespass lawyers know both the direct and collateral consequences involved in a trespass charge. Contact us at 813-444-7435 for a free consultation.