Conroe Criminal Trespass Attorney
Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor property crime that refers to the act of knowingly being on private property without the owner’s consent. Often, such properties have a sign that bans entry or trespassing. If found guilty of criminal trespass, an individual could face thousands in fines and years in prison.
In order to prove criminal trespass, the prosecution must prove that an individual was aware that entering the property was forbidden. This can include refusing to leave someone’s house after they have asked you to. Another example can include entering the wrong house or apartment by mistake or walking through someone’s private property on your way to another place. Sometimes an order is put in place to stay away from a property, for example, during a divorce or separation.
If you have been accused of criminal trespassing, it’s important to contact an experienced Conroe criminal trespass attorney to defend you against allegations.
Criminal Trespass in Conroe
Texas Penal Code § 30.05 states that anyone is guilty of criminal trespass if they enter or remain on someone else’s property without their consent, and they had noticed that entry was illegal.
This type of crime is common in stores, parks, buildings, aircraft, motor vehicles, residential land, and farms. Individuals performing a service, like law enforcement or utility workers, are often exempt from this law.
Notice of entry can either be written or verbally communicated by the landowner. Often, fences can be clear notice that intruders are not welcome. Land that is clearly industrial or agricultural can also be considered clearly off-limits.
Typically, criminal trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas; however, some variables can increase or reduce the sentence. If a deadly weapon was used, or the property was residential or a facility or shelter, the charges can be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor.
Penalties for Criminal Trespass
Gaining access to someone’s personal vehicle, property, or aircraft against their wishes will almost always result in a criminal trespassing charge.
According to the unique circumstances of the case, local prosecutors may charge the following penalties:
Class C misdemeanor: Up to a $500 fine. This is typically for trespassing on agricultural land
Class B misdemeanor: A fine of up to $2,000 and a maximum of 180 days in jail
Class A misdemeanor: A fine of up to $4,000 and a maximum of one year in jail
Getting a Criminal Trespass Charge Dismissed
Just like any criminal case, each claim is unique. In order to get a criminal trespass charge dismissed, you should immediately seek legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney in Conroe to fight for you in court.
The most typical defense strategy for a criminal trespass charge is to prove that you had consent to enter the property, the notice barring entry was not proper, or the defendant had legal access to the property they are accused of entering without notice or consent.
The passage of HB 302 in the 86th Texas Legislative Session lends passage for an affirmative defense, allowing defendants to avoid prosecution if the foundation for the prosecution is possession of a firearm—whether the gun was in your residence, stored in your motor vehicle, or as an invited guest in someone else’s home.
If you are a public worker like an emergency responder, utility worker, firefighter, or are fulfilling a service for the homeowner, you are protected from trespassing charges. If you were on the property during business hours fulfilling a job duty, then it is easy to show that you were merely working.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Trespass Attorney in Conroe
Texas prosecutors take property rights seriously in Conroe. If you are charged with unlawfully trespassing on private or public land, you can be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
Depending on the nature of your crime, your charges can lead to jail time and costly fines. A conviction can also result in a permanent criminal record that can hinder your ability to find gainful employment, housing, financial aid, education, or keep or obtain a professional license.
By calling the professional lawyer at The Napier Law Firm, you can fight to reduce or avoid these severe consequences. In many cases, criminal trespassing can happen accidentally or by mistake. Our capable lawyer will help investigate your case and determine the best defense for you.