Trespassing: Penal Code § 602 PC
Anyone who commits the act of trespassing can be criminally charged under the penal codes set forth by the state of California. Anyone who enters or remains on someone’s property after being asked to stay off of that property or after being told to leave is committing the act of trespassing. There are numerous instances that California regards as trespassing, some that make more sense than others and are enforced more than others. There are a few situations left up to the discretion of the prosecution and whether trespassing charges will be filed.
An example of trespassing would be someone entering a restaurant and making a scene that would lead people away from the restaurant after being told not to be on the premises. If someone enters a home that is not being used at the time or an exterior structure on someone’s property and sets up a small habitable area, then the action is considered trespassing. When an ex-partner arrives at the other person’s home or place of employment after being told not to visit, then it’s trespassing. Trespassing consists of arriving on someone’s property with an intent to damage the property or commit harm to the people who are there. Some of the odd situations include removing dirt from someone’s property or refusing the screening process at an airport or government building.
Trespassing is usually considered a misdemeanor in California. If you are convicted of trespassing, then you could spend up to six months in jail. You could also be ordered to pay fines of up to $1,000. There are a few trespassing charges that will warrant minor infractions and small fines compared to other types. If aggravated trespassing takes place, which involves hurting someone or threatening to cause harm, then you could face a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. This means that you would spend a longer time in jail and have to pay higher fines. There are a few legal defenses that an attorney can use if you are charged with trespassing. One is that you had a right to be on the property, and if your name is attached in any way to the property, then this could be the best defense to use. Another common defense that an attorney can use is that you didn’t technically occupy the property or interfere with any kind of activity that was taking place on the property at the time. You can also argue that there was not a sign warning about no trespassing or that you never received any kind of warning about being on the property. Employees with an outside company can argue that they had a right to be on a piece of property because of the orders given by an employer. This would likely not be considered trespassing.
In order for a trespassing charge to hold up in court, the prosecution needs to prove that there was a willful intent to remain on the property or to disrupt the activities that were taking place on the property. The prosecution also has to prove that the person was not supposed to be on the property at the time. If someone makes a threat to someone else and enters that person’s property within 30 days of the threat being made, then a felony charge could be issued instead of a misdemeanor.
After being charged and sentenced for criminal trespassing, there is a possibility that you can have your record expunged. You will need to complete any and all jail time or other types of punishment that you receive before you can request an expungement. If there is any kind of probation violation or another crime committed, then the judge can deny the expungement request.