Los Angeles Trespassing Attorney
Are you facing criminal trespassing charges in Los Angeles, California? Contact The Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal advice and assistance. The only way to protect your future and secure the best possible outcome in your criminal case is by asserting a strong defense. Our Los Angeles trespassing attorneys can help.
With more than 20 years of legal experience – including 13 as a prosecutor – The Rodriguez Law Group is uniquely qualified to help you navigate your criminal trespassing case.
Let us put our resources, experience, and inside knowledge of the criminal justice system to work for you. Our seasoned attorneys offer a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at (213) 995-6767 or reach out to us online to schedule yours today.
California Penal Code Section 602 PC: Trespassing
Broadly speaking, trespassing occurs when you intentionally go onto someone else’s property without their permission or consent. Under California Penal Code Section 602 PC, trespassing is defined in much more specific terms. In fact, there are actually more than 30 different ways you can violate California’s trespassing law.
Here are some of the most common trespassing violations, as outlined under 602 PC:
- Entering property that belongs to another person – whether or not it’s protected by a fence – for the purpose of interfering with their property rights or business, or to injure the property (602(k) PC)
- Entering property that belongs to another person without their permission while ignoring “no trespassing” and refusing to leave or damaging property (602(l) PC)
- Entering and occupying real property or structures of any kind without the consent of the owner (602(m) PC), and
- Refusing to leave property that’s not open to the general public (602(o) PC).
So, basically, trespassing involves entering a property without permission, causing harm to the property maliciously, and/or refusing to leave when asked. Trespassing can also involve entering another person’s property and taking things on the land – such as dirt, wood or timber, or even oysters. In fact, you can also be charged with trespassing under 602 PC if you refuse screening at an airport such as LAX.
All trespassing crimes have a few things in common, though. So, it’s important to understand what trespassing is at its very core. Those are the things the state will ultimately have to prove when you’re charged with a crime.
What Does the State Have to Prove If I’m Charged With Trespassing in California?
To convict, the state must be able to prove that you are guilty of trespassing beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to accomplish this, prosecutors must be able to prove each element of the offense. Generally speaking, the elements of trespassing include:
- Entering someone else’s property willfully
- Having the specific intent to interfere with the owner’s property rights, and
- Successfully interfering with the owner’s property rights in some way.
Here’s what that means:
Trespassing isn’t done by mistake. It’s done wilfully. In California, willful behavior is defined as conduct that is done on purpose. So, the state will have to prove that you intentionally and purposefully entered property that didn’t belong to you. This means that you knew the property wasn’t yours, you knew you didn’t have permission to enter, and decided to, anyway.
Intent to Damage Property or Interfere with Property Rights
When someone owns the property, they get to enjoy certain rights. That includes the right to occupy the property, decide who can and cannot enter, and enjoy whatever natural resources happen to be present. When you’re accused of trespassing, the state has to prove that you intended to interfere with those rights in some way when you entered the premises.
Causing Actual Harm, Damage, or Disruption
It’s not enough to willfully enter someone else’s property with the intent to do harm. You must actually “damage someone else’s property or property right” or “interfere with, obstruct, or damage a lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner or an agent.”
In other words, you must have successfully accomplished your mission. Examples could be literally destroying the land, taking natural resources such as wood or shellfish, entering and remaining when asked to leave, or engaging in any behavior that disrupts a business that’s carried out there – such as protesting without a permit or discharging a weapon to scare others.
What Are the Penalties for a Trespassing Conviction in Los Angeles, CA?
Trespassing is typically a misdemeanor in California. If convicted, you could face penalties that include:
- Summary probation
- Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- A maximum of 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail.
There are certain circumstances that could cause the crime to be treated as a less serious infraction or a more serious felony.
Trespassing might be an infraction – and punishable by a fine of $75 for a first offense – if you simply ignore “no trespassing” signs and willfully enter the land that doesn’t belong to you. A second offense is punishable by a fine of $250. The third offense is treated as a misdemeanor.
Trespassing might be a felony when certain aggravating circumstances apply. For example, you might be charged with felony trespassing if you make a threat to seriously injure someone and then, within 30 days, enter their property (at home or at work) to follow through. Under 601 PC, the sentence for felony aggravated trespassing can carry up to three years in a County jail.
What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Facing Criminal Trespass Charges in Los Angeles?
Remember, the state has the burden of proving that you are guilty of trespassing. Prosecutors have to build a case that proves you acted willfully, with a specific intent, and successfully interfered with someone else’s rights. The state has to have evidence to support and prove each of these things.
At the same time, you have the right to offer any arguments in your defense that can help to explain, excuse, or justify your alleged behavior. You also have the right to attack and attempt to discredit any allegations that are made against you. When you turn to the Rodriguez Law Group for help, we’ll work diligently to make sure that you have a comprehensive and well-rounded defense raised on your behalf.
How? We’ll investigate your alleged crime carefully. We’ll review the evidence and scrutinize the circumstances from all angles. We’ll interview witnesses and comb through documents given to us by the state during discovery. We’ll consult with experts if we believe that professional or specialist insight might be beneficial to your case. We’ll research California law thoroughly and identify any and all legal arguments that might help your defense, including:
- False accusations
- Mistaken identity
- Your actions were not done willfully
- You lacked the specific intent required to trespass, or
- You did not successfully interfere with property rights.
Additionally, we’ll review your interactions with the police and scrutinize how the state has handled your case. We’ll search for any indication that your rights have been violated in some way. If your rights were violated – such as through an illegal arrest or unlawful search – we’ll ask the court to throw out evidence that’s been tainted as a result. Without evidence, the state might be forced to reconsider the charges against you.
The approach we take to the cases we handle yields results. We regularly get evidence dismissed, charges dropped, and convince juries to come back with not guilty verdicts. Give our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys a call to learn more about how we might be able to help you with your trespass case today.
Contact Our Los Angeles Trespassing Defense Lawyers For Help
Trespassing might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a crime that comes with some harsh consequences. In addition to months in jail, a conviction will also cause unpleasant collateral damage. The fact that you have a trespassing conviction on your criminal record can make life hard for years to come. It might be hard to find a job, rent an apartment, or even secure a loan.
If you have professional licenses or accreditations, those might be taken away. A criminal record can also be used against you in family law proceedings, meaning that you might lose the right to see or spend time with your family.
The only way to stop these things from happening is to defend yourself from the start. The Rodriguez Law Group can help. Call our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers today to schedule a free initial case assessment and learn more.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm also provides:
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- LA Theft Crimes Lawyer
- Los Angeles, CA White Collar Crimes Attorney
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Last Updated on April 26, 2022