You can be charged with Trespassing in Florida for being on someone’s property without permission. Many people think there’s something called criminal trespassing, but the fact is that there’s no difference between trespassing and criminal trespassing. Any trespassing is criminal.
While it may seem like getting busted for trespassing is no big deal, any criminal charge is serious, and you need to fight it. Even if charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction for trespassing can lead to fines, jail, probation, and a criminal record. If you’re facing trespassing charges in Florida, call 407-644-2466 and talk to the Orlando criminal defense lawyers at the Rivas Law Firm.
How Bad is a Trespassing Charge?
Trespass on a property without entering any buildings, or cars, etc., violates Florida Statute 810.09. It’s a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the circumstances, prosecutors can press more severe charges. If, for example, you were carrying a weapon or the trespass occurred at an airport, school, or construction site, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. The sentence can be up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.
Florida No Trespassing Laws
The law defines a trespasser as “a person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property” after notice to stay out or leave. “Notice” means being told to stay out (“actual communication”) or that the property was “Posted” with No Trespassing signs or that the area was fenced. However, you can be a trespasser on non posted land as well, as in the case of private property with a home on it.
Local police often use trespassing laws to deter vagrants from gathering in front of businesses or as a way to deal with homelessness or panhandling. Hunters can be charged with trespassing for discharging a “firearm, bow, [or] crossbow” on posted land. Most of these infractions are charged as misdemeanors, and a trespass attorney can usually keep you out of serious trouble.
Experts strongly advise you to talk with a Florida trespass lawyer if you face felony charges. You can spend time in prison and pay thousands of dollars in fines for certain trespass crimes. For example, unauthorized entry into an “operational area of an airport,” meaning “any portion of an airport to which access by the public is prohibited by fences,” can mean serious legal trouble. The same applies to trespass at a women’s shelter, chemical plant, school, or construction site.
How do you beat a trespassing charge in Florida?
If arrested in Florida, the first thing to do is call an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. For trespassing cases, as with any criminal charge, the police must follow established procedures. Too often, defendants plead guilty and hope for the best. Sometimes the fines and fees from pleading guilty can add up to more than the cost of a lawyer who may
have gotten a dismissal. In a trespassing case, there may be questions of mistaken identity. Or you may have had a good reason to be on the property. Did an arresting officer witness the trespass? Your attorney can identify any weaknesses in the case against you and work with the prosecutor to get you the best possible outcome. In any case, it’s best to talk with a lawyer. Talk to an Orlando trespass attorney at the Rivas Law Firm by calling 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.