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California law recognizes the right of a Los Angeles resident to control access to their property. That is why it’s a crime for someone to enter or remain on private property in Los Angeles without having the owner’s expressed permission. This is considered trespassing. Depending on the circumstances, the perpetrator could be charged with a serious crime. This is covered under California Penal Code Section 602 PC
In order for someone to be found guilty of trespassing certain facts must be established. It must be shown that a defendant willfully went onto a person’s property and remained there. The defendant must have had the intent to interfere with the owner’s property rights.
Legal Elements Of Trespassing
There are basic elements that must be proven for a charge of trespassing to become a conviction. It must be proven an individual willfully entered the private property. It must be established the property was privately owned. It also needs to be shown the individual committing a trespass had the intent to deprive an owner of their property rights. In this situation, interference does not require any serious damage to occur. This damage can be the result of an individual occupying or living on a premises without permission from the property owner.
There are situations where criminal trespass is charged as an infraction, and a person will be required to pay a small fine. The most common charge when someone is caught trespassing in Los Angeles is a misdemeanor. This could result in punishment of as much as six months in the county jail. A person could also be given a fine of up to $1,000. It’s also possible for them to be sentenced with a combination of a fine and jail time. A person can be found guilty of aggravated trespass. This is when the perpetrator threatens to cause physical injury when unlawfully entering a home or workplace. Criminal aggravated trespass could result in being incarcerated for up to three years.
There are some common situations that can result in a charge of trespassing. An individual could have a personal grudge against the owner of a restaurant. They go into the restaurant and behave in such a way as to cause a disturbance. Their behavior drives away the restaurant’s patrons. An individual goes into another person’s unused garage without the owner’s permission. The individual sets up their sleeping bag and stays for several nights. A person tells an ex-wife they will assault her. The individual then goes to the workplace of the ex-wife with the intent to be violent. An individual can be charged with criminal trespassing should they drive their vehicle on private land, deface or damage notices or signs on private property, cut wood or private property, spend time on trails where trespassing signs are posted. Refuse to be screened at a courthouse or airport and more.
Trespassing Legal Defenses
When a person in Los Angeles is charged with trespassing, there are a number of possible legal defenses available. An experienced attorney will know how to raise the right legal defense to get a person’s charge decreased or even dismissed. It’s possible for an individual to have the right to be on the property. They could have the owner’s consent to be on the property. An individual didn’t actually occupy to property or didn’t interfere with any type of activity taking place on the property. The private property did not have a fence or signs indicating it was private property. It’s also possible an individual was in the process of leaving the property as requested at the time of their arrest.
When a person is arrested for trespassing, they need to discuss their situation with an attorney. An experienced legal professional can help a person understand their legal situation and help to protect their rights.