Entering someone else's property without permission to do so can lead to a charge of criminal trespassing, and a conviction can lead to fines and even jail time in some situations. Better understanding the ins and outs of criminal trespassing can help you avoid such a fate.
Reaching the Level of Criminal Trespassing
In the State of Texas, your actions are considered trespassing if the following apply:
You entered someone else's property without permission to do so, or you remained on that property after being told to leave.
You did not have consent to be on the property in question.
The owner of the property in question gave proper notice that entry was not allowed.
Many trespass charges hinge on whether or not the owner of the property gave proper notice. Trespass cases are often complicated, but an experienced Temple criminal defense attorney can help.
Giving Proper Notice
Texas law identifies five different categories of notice in the context of criminal trespass, including:
Oral or Written Communication – The notice communicated by the property owner can be either written or oral. For example, if the owner notices someone on his or her property, issuing a verbal command to leave the property suffices. Further, if – for example – a tenant’s guest’s visit extends into a lengthy stay, a letter penned by the landlord that instructs the guest to vacate would serve as written notice.
Fencing or Another Kind of Enclosure – Fencing around a property should send the signal that entry is forbidden without permission. Examples include a fenced-in backyard and fencing that encloses a field.
No Trespassing Signs – When a property owner posts signs that read No Trespassing that are positioned to be seen, it means do not enter without permission.
Paint Marks – Purple paint marks can also serve as warnings regarding trespassing. When readily visible purple paint marks are made on trees or posts that are no more than 100 feet apart on property that is forested and no more than 1,000 feet apart on non-forested property, it amounts to fair warning.
Cropland – When the property in question is obviously used for growing crops, it serves as its own warning against entry.
It is a Class B Misdemeanor to trespass on someone else’s property, and a conviction carries the maximum sentence of $2,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail. There are instances, however, when the charge can be elevated. If the accused is in possession of a deadly weapon, for example, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, and such a conviction carries a maximum sentence of up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Temple Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a trespassing charge, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Temple, Texas, is on your side and standing by to help. Your case is important, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.