A person could be arrested for trespassing when they enter, or remain on, the property of another without the right or permission to do so. According to California law, there are dozens of unique situations in which the trespassing laws apply, some common, and some very unusual.
Your Los Angeles trespassing lawyer will be able to utilize and number of different criminal defenses to show your innocence and possibly get the case dismissed;
Right to Be on the Property
No person in California can be convicted of trespassing when they had legal right to be on the property. One of the common cases with trespassing involves the right to legally participate in labor or union organized activities. A person is not technically trespassing when they are protesting on a property but have legal rights due to the union activities. Despite the land owner asking the parties to leave because they are obstructing business, protestors or those picketing do have rights.
Your Los Angeles trespassing lawyer can quickly determine if you had the right to be on the property or were constitutionally protected to free expression.
Consent to Being on Property
If a person is arrested for occupying the property of another person without their permission, it is possible you can get the case dismissed if your attorney is able to show you initially had the consent of the owner to be on that property. These cases can be a little confusing because the owner at one point gave consent, but the person remained on the property too long, and now is considered to be trespassing.
The prosecution will have to prove the defendant did not realize the consent given had expired or they occupied said property for longer than what was agreed upon. If given initial consent but staying too long, it does not warrant a trespassing charge. The exception is if the prosecution can prove the property owner required you to leave to avoid any criminal liability and you refused.
Never Occupied the Property
Your Los Angeles trespassing lawyer may be able to prove you never occupied the property in question. In order to get a conviction in a trespassing case in California, the prosecution must show you occupied the property and deprived the owner of use or did so for a continuous period of time. If charged for briefly being on the property, the charges can not stick and your attorney will quickly poke holes in the case. Perhaps the owner thought you crossed the boundary or it could be a case of mistaken identity.
If you did not enter or occupy the property, the prosecution has to prove otherwise. Even if found on the property, it could be you were there seconds by mistake and planned on moving on when the police showed up.
Property Not Signed or Fenced
One of the more common and winnable defenses in trespassing cases is your attorney showing that the property was not adequately fenced or signed. According to California law, a person can be charged with trespassing when they enter on to a property that is enclosed or fenced, with trespassing signage displayed at intervals around the perimeter. The signage must be at every road or trail entering the property, and at no less than three signs per mile along every boundary of the said property.
The water gets very muddied in these cases because the person arrested for trespassing may have wandered on to the property where a sign was not present or went missing. If the signs were not posted in accordance with the law, then the person can not be convicted of a crime. Your Los Angeles trespassing lawyer might be able to show that one perimeter of the property was not fenced or had signs, so the defendant did not realize they were doing anything wrong until the police arrived.
If you have been wrongfully convicted of trespassing, don’t take the punishment without putting up a fight for your rights. The Los Angeles trespassing lawyer will be able to paint a picture that casts doubt on the prosecution case and helps give you the opportunity to avoid this charge being part of your permanent record.
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.
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