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Aggravated Trespass: Penal Code § 601 PC

Penal Code 601 PC in California relates to the crime known as aggravated trespass, which is also commonly referred to as felony trespass. Sometimes, it is even known as trespass after making threats. This is a crime that is committed when a person makes a threat against another person’s well-being and then commits trespass onto their property within 30 days later. In general, aggravated trespass is common in domestic abuse and stalking cases.

Legal Definition of Aggravated Trespass

In order for a person to be considered as having committed aggravated trespass, there must be certain elements in place. The prosecutor is required to prove that all of these were in place to prove that the defendant is guilty of aggravated trespass. They include the following:

• The individual made a threat to another person that they would cause them serious bodily injury
• The defendant issued the threat with the intention of making the victim fear for their safety or for the safety of someone in their immediate family
• The defendant unlawfully entered the individual’s home, the property next to their home or their workplace with the intention of carrying out their threat

In general, it must be a credible threat that was made, and one that puts fear in the victim that their safety or the safety of their immediate family is in danger. The threat can be made in person, orally and directly to the intended victim, in writing or electronically. It can also include a pattern that includes both conduct and statements.

What Constitutes Serious Bodily Injury in California?

A serious bodily injury means that the injury the perpetrator threatens to carry out on their intended victim is generally a serious one that may include the following:

• Bone fracture
• Concussion
• Loss of consciousness
• Loss of function of a bodily organ or impairment thereof
• Serious disfigurement
• Wound or wounds that require considerable suturing

Penalties for Aggravated Trespass in California

Aggravated trespass in the state of California is also known as felony trespass. However, at the same time, it is also a “wobbler” charge per the law within the state, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally, the prosecutor decides which charge to put forth depending on the following:

• The specific nature of the allegations against the defendant
• The individual’s criminal history

If a person is charged with a misdemeanor aggravated trespass, they can face a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

A felony aggravated trespass charge is far more serious. If a person is convicted of the crime, they can face up to 16 months or two or three years of time spent in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Possible Defenses for Aggravated Trespass

Criminal defense attorneys use certain defenses for the charge of aggravated trespass. The following are the most commonly used:

• The alleged threat made by the defendant was not credible
• When the defendant made the threat, they didn’t have any actual intention to instill fear in the person and meant no harm to their safety, such as if the defendant was only joking
• The defendant had no intention of carrying out the threat when they entered the plaintiff’s home or place of work and may have intended to apologize for it
• The defendant had no idea they were going into the plaintiff’s workplace

Aggravated trespass is a serious crime that can stay with a person for many years after a conviction. Even if the individual is faces the lesser charge of a misdemeanor, it’s important that they have a skilled criminal defense attorney on their side to represent them in their case.


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