Depending on the circumstances, trespassing in South Florida can be a serious crime. A trespassing offense can be charged as a misdemeanor, or possibly even as a felony, so it's important to speak to a Lake Worth trespassing lawyer to understand your options. At Bottari & Doyle, our criminal defense attorneys will fight for your rights, and we're committed to obtaining the most favorable outcome for you – don't wait, call today for a free case evaluation.
Trespassing on a Property in Lake Worth
Florida Statute 810.09 states it is unlawful for a person who, without being authorized, licensed or invited, to willfully enter upon or remain in any property other than a structure or conveyance
- As to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing or cultivation as described in section 810.011 or
- If the property is the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling and the offender enters or remains with the intent to commit an offense thereon, other than the offense of trespassing.
Trespassing on a Property is a first degree misdemeanor when the trespasser is unarmed. First degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year of probation, one year in jail as a condition of probation, and a $1,000 fine. Trespassing on Property is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years of probation, five years in prison as a condition of probation, and a $5,000 fine when:
- The trespasser is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the commission of the trespass.
- The trespass occurs on a designated construction site.
- The trespass occurs on a designated commercial horticultural property.
- The trespass occurs on a designated agricultural site.
- The trespass occurs on a designated domestic violence center.
- The trespasser propels a lethal projectile over the land while trying to take or kill an animal.
- The trespass occurs on a designated agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility.
Do I need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Trespassing in Lake Worth?
Yes. If you've been charged with Trespassing on a Property, you should speak to a Lake Worth criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, possible defenses, and the complicated legal system. There are various defenses to Trespassing. Section 810.011 requires property owners to provide proper notice to warn people not to trespass. In other words, you cannot be convicted of trespassing if it was not clear that you shouldn't have been on the property, and you were not aware that you shouldn't have been there. Other common defenses to Trespassing include:
- Lack of willfulness.
- Improper or no posted notice provided to the alleged trespasser.
- Trespass warning trumped by invitation.
- Alleged trespasser was invited to be on the property.
Don't make the mistake of representing yourself and don't take a plea deal too early – there may be a defense to your case that is being overlooked. When our criminal defense team represents you, you'll benefit from advice and assistance in the following steps of your legal case:
- We'll investigate and determine if your legal rights were violated at any point in your arrest.
- We'll gather critical evidence and facts, such as 911 reports, witness statements, video evidence, social media research, and more.
- After assessing all possible scenarios and outcomes, we'll walk you through the options and give our honest recommendations so that you can make the best decision for you and your situation.
- If your case goes to trial, we will stand up for you and fight for your rights at every turn throughout the court and legal process.
Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance in Lake Worth
Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance can be committed in two ways:
- A person who is not authorized, licensed, or invited, cannot willfully enter or remain in any structure or conveyance.
- Additionally, if the person has been authorized, licensed or invited, it is illegal to remain in the structure or conveyance after being told to leave by the owner, lessee or another authorized person.
In this case, a “Person Authorized” means an owner or lessee, or his or her agent, or any law enforcement officer whose department has received written authorization from the owner or lessee, or his or her agent, to communicate an order to depart the property in case of a threat to public safety or welfare. A “Conveyance” means any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car; and to enter a conveyance includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance. “Willfully” means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely.
A “Structure” is defined as any building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, that has a roof over it, and the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding that structure.
To prove at trial that a defendant trespassed in a structure or conveyance, without being warned to leave, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant willfully entered or remained in a structure or conveyance.
- The structure or conveyance was in the lawful possession of the person alleged.
- The Defendant's entering or remaining in the structure or conveyance was without authorization, license, or invitation by the person alleged, or any other person authorized to give that permission.
To prove that a defendant trespassed in a structure or conveyance, after being warned to leave, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant had been authorized, licensed or invited to enter or remain in a structure or conveyance.
- The owner, the lessee or a person authorized by the owner or lessee of the premises warned the defendant to depart.
- The defendant refused to depart.
Common Defenses to Trespassing in Structure or Conveyance in Lake Worth
A person does not have to be given the express authority to enter or remain in a structure or conveyance. Permission can be implied from the circumstances. It is legal to enter or remain in the structure or conveyance if a reasonable person would believe that he or she had the owner or occupant's permission.
Some of the more common Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance defenses are:
- Entry to the structure or conveyance was not willful.
- The “person authorized” to tell the trespasser to leave lacked authority.
- A prior trespass warning was trumped by an invitation to enter.
- Insufficient evidence to show that the defendant was actually the trespasser.
- The defendant was allowed to be in the structure or conveyance.
- The curtilage to the structure was unenclosed.
Penalties for Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance in Lake Worth
A person who trespasses in an unoccupied structure or conveyance commits a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months of probation, 60 days in jail as a condition of probation, and a $500 fine.
A person who trespasses in an occupied structure or conveyance (occupied by a human being at the time of the trespass), commits a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of probation, one year in jail as a condition of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
A person who trespasses in a structure or conveyance, while armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, commits a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years of probation, five years in prison as a condition of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Contact a Lake Worth Trespassing Lawyer at Bottari & Doyle
If you have been arrested or charged with Trespassing on a Property or Trespassing in a Structure or Conveyance in Lake Worth, please do not hesitate to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Bottari & Doyle for a free case evaluation.