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Home » Property Crimes Lawyer » Trespassing Lawyer

California Trespassing Attorney – Penal Code 602 PC

How Can A Trespassing Attorney From My Rights Law Help Me?

No one likes a trespasser. In fact, most people find trespassers to be irritating, if not potentially dangerous. While some trespassers do little more than cause minor disturbances, such as being unsightly, others cause actual harm to property and people. If the state charges you with trespass, you might be concerned about your future. What penalties will you face, and what defense might you have? The range of trespass offenses is great, after all. If you’d like to know the answers to these questions and what California laws say about trespass, then continue reading below.

California Trespass Lawyer

My Rights Law‘s mission is to defend those facing California crimes, including trespassing. Our experienced property crimes lawyers will do everything in our power to help you fight these charges. To learn more about how My Rights Law can help you in your criminal trespass case, reach out to us by calling (888) 702-8882 or leave a message on our secure web form.

What Is Trespassing? – Penal Code 602 PC

A slew of images or answers may come to mind if a person asks you, “What is trespassing?”. In reality, this California crime is often vague, and its perimeters often leave people confounded.  To help alleviate some of this confusion, we’ll break down what misdemeanor trespassing is and what felony trespassing is.

Misdemeanor Trespassing – Penal Code 602.8 PC

In short, a misdemeanor trespass occurs when you:

  • Willfully enter someone else’s property,
  • Without consent,
  • And you continued to do so until you were removed.[1]

It seems simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, this definition doesn’t necessarily encompass the multitude of acts that might allow a prosecutor to charge you with trespass. For example, let’s suppose you go to a hotel and pay for a room. You pay for a three-night stay. Certainly, you have the property owner’s consent to reside on the premises. Now, let’s suppose you decide to stay an extra night—although you didn’t pay for it. Here, although you initially had the owner’s consent, that consent ends after your agreed-upon stay ends.

How about this? Let’s suppose that you do only stay for the agreed-upon three nights, but while you’re there, you begin complaining about the hotel in a manner that turns away business. Maybe you stand at the entrance, and you complain about the lack of amenities or poor room conditions for hours each time sometime walks by or tries to enter.[2] In this case, a prosecutor may charge you with trespass because you demonstrated an intent to interfere with the hotel’s business.[3] You can be accused of trespass, even if you have consent to enter certain premises, if you intend to obstruct that person’s business.[4]

Felony Trespassing – Penal Code 601 PC

You commit a felony trespass when you:

  • Make a real threat to cause bodily injury to someone;
  • Intending to put that person or person’s family in fear of their safety; and
  • Within 30 days of making this threat, you either:
    • enter this person’s property intending to carry out your threat, or
    • go to this person’s workplace planning to carry out your threat.[5]

What Are The Penalties For Trespassing?

As with most misdemeanors, if a judge or jury convicts you of misdemeanor trespass, you’re liable to face up to six months in county jail or a $1000 fine. You may also face probation. Aggravated trespass comes with a penalty of up to one year in jail and up to $2000 in fines. Keep in mind that the state typically charges you with aggravated trespass in connection with stalking or domestic violence charges. Thus, your penalties and fines will likely increase and be more severe.

Of course, if you’re convicted of a felony trespass, then you might suffer up to 3 years in county jail or a hefty $10,000 fine and felony probation. An aggravated felony can be a wobbler offense, meaning a prosecutor has the discretion to charge it as a misdemeanor or felony. With so much at stake, it’s advisable to speak to an attorney first.

What Are Viable Defenses To Trespassing?

Because there are various degrees of trespass, there are various viable defenses. We’ll approach them one at a time.

Misdemeanor Trespassing

To prove that you’re guilty of misdemeanor trespass, the state must show that:

  • You willfully entered and remained on someone else’s property
  • You intended to interfere with or obstruct that person’s business or property
  • You didn’t have the property owner’s consent to be there and
  • You interfered with or obstructed the property owner’s business or property.

Some possible defenses to this crime may have come to mind. For example, one of your initial reactions could’ve been that a judge or jury will have to find you not guilty if any of those four elements is missing. Suppose that you entered someone’s land without consent and intended to ruin that person’s business. But what if you didn’t actually interfere with their operation? What if the store’s patrons ignored you? In that case, perhaps you didn’t violate this law.

You may have also considered it a defense if you lacked intent to trespass because you didn’t know you were on the prohibited property. If a property owner puts up a no trespassing sign, it should be out and open. If overgrown hedges obscure it, there’s a possibility that you didn’t see it. Therefore, you didn’t willfully enter someone else’s land.

Felony Trespassing

A defense to felony trespass might be that you didn’t make a credible threat. Separately, you may argue that more than 30 days had passed when you entered the person’s property or went to their workplace. Even if 30 days haven’t passed, you may say that you only went there to apologize—not to fulfill your threat. Of course, it’s always best to let the people who know the law and who have experience shooting down the elements of a crime handle the task.

Call My Rights Law Trespassing Lawyers Today

My Rights Law is a passionate, knowledgeable firm of criminal defense attorneys. We have decades of experience reducing charges, getting cases dismissed, and fighting aggressively for our clients. We fight hard to protect your rights and safeguard your freedoms because we know how a misdemeanor or felony trespass conviction can severely impede your life. Any conviction can hinder you, such as taking you from your family, resulting in losing your license or certification, and more. With so much to lose, you don’t want to go at this problem alone. Instead, consult with knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys For a free consultation, call us today at (888) 702-8882 or contact us through our secure web form.

Other property crimes we defend include: Arson

[1] Refer to California Criminal Jury Instruction (2021) – CALCRIM 2931.
[2] Refer to In re Wallace, (1970) 3 Cal. 3d 289.
[3] Refer to California Criminal Jury Instructions (2021) – CALCRIM 2930.
[4] Refer to In re Ball, (1972) 23 Cal. App. 3d 380.
[5] Refer to California Criminal Jury Instructions (2021) – CALCRIM 2929.

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