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Texas and Criminal Trespass Basics

Entering someone else’s property without permission to do so can lead to a criminal charge of trespassing, which is a serious charge that you should take seriously. A conviction can lead to jail time, fines, and social consequences that are difficult to overcome. If you are facing a trespassing charge, an experienced Harker Heights criminal defense attorney can help.

Is It Trespassing?

In the State of Texas, if you either enter or stay on someone else’s property after being told to leave, it can reach the level of criminal trespassing if the following three elements are met:

  • The property owner or manager provided appropriate notice that entry onto the property was forbidden.

  • You entered the property without permission to do so or stayed on the property after being told by the property owner or manager to leave.

  • The property owner or manager did not consent to you being on the property.

Was Entrance Forbidden?

Trespassing cases tend to hinge on whether or not the property owner or manager took the steps necessary to provide proper notice that entry was forbidden. There are five types of notification that will suffice.

Oral or Written Notification

The property owner or manager can either tell someone on his or her property to leave directly via a verbal warning or in a written message. For example, if a landlord notices that a tenant's guest is staying longer than the lease allows, he or she can give the tenant a written warning instructing the guest to depart the premises. Further, a property owner can simply walk up to someone on his or her property (whether invited or not) and tell them to leave.

Fencing or Another Kind of Enclosure

When a property owner encloses his or her property with a fence (or anything else), would-be visitors should recognize that this means entrance is forbidden (without specific permission otherwise). Examples include fenced-in yards and fenced-in farmland.

No Trespassing Signs

When a property owner or manager posts a No Trespassing sign (or multiple signs) clearly and visibly on the property, the meaning should be clear to all.

Cropland

When land is being used to grow or harvest crops in the State of Texas, this serves as an adequate warning that entry is not allowed.

Purple Paint Marks

Property owners of forested land can use purple paint marks (that are easy to spot) at least every 100 feet on trees or posts in forested areas or at least every 1,000 feet on trees or posts in non-forested areas – as a warning against entry.

It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Harker Heights Criminal Defense Attorney

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Harker Heights, Texas, is a resourceful criminal defense attorney who dedicates his impressive practice to helping clients like you obtain favorable case resolutions. For more information about what we can do to help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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