Los Angeles Aggravated Trespassing Attorney
Have you been charged with Aggravated Trespassing in Los Angeles, CA? A charge of “Felony Trespassing” or “Trespass After Making Credible Threat” refers to aggravated trespassing which is more serious than regular trespassing.
Aggravated trespassing is a wobbler offense that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.
You need an experienced Los Angeles aggravated trespassing attorney fighting for you if you want to protect your future. Call The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule a free consultation now.
How a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Following an Aggravated Trespassing Arrest in LA
After an arrest for aggravated trespassing, don’t trust your future to just any attorney. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you either get a case dropped altogether or reduced down to less serious charges, such as an infraction or misdemeanor.
As a former prosecutor, The Rodriguez Law Group founder Ambrosio Rodriguez understands how these cases are handled by prosecutors. Our team’s thorough approach uses every available resource to get the most optimum outcome for our clients. Contact us to arrange time to discuss your legal rights and options today.
Penal Code 601 PC – Aggravated (Felony) Trespass
A prosecutor must prove three things in order to convict someone of aggravated trespass:
- The defendant made a credible threat to cause serious bodily injury.
- The defendant made a threat with intent to place reasonable fear for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family members.
- Within 30 days of making the threat, the defendant willfully entered the threatened person’s residence or workplace.
The definition of Penal Code 601 PC raises several questions, which may be argued in building a defense:
- What constitutes a credible threat?
- What constitutes serious bodily injury?
- What constitutes reasonable fear
- What constitutes immediate family members.
Penalties for misdemeanor aggravated trespassing include a one (1) year in county jail and/or a fine of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000). Penalties for felony aggravated trespassing include felony probation or sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in county jail.
Element of Credible Threat
According to the jury instructions for 601 PC, a credible threat is a threat that causes the intended target to reasonably fear for his or her safety (or immediate family’s safety). Secondly, the maker of the threat should appear to be able to carry out the threat.
A threat may be made orally, in writing, or electronically. So a Facebook comment, response to an Instagram story, or a text message could also be a means of delivering a credible threat.
Element of Serious Bodily Injury
The jury instructions PC 601 also give examples of serious bodily injury, while leaving the “but not limited to” language that makes this open to debate.
The examples provided of possible serious bodily injury include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Bone fracture
- Protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ
- A wound requiring extensive suturing
- Serious disfigurement.
A conviction under PC 601 does not have to cause serious bodily injury, but rather lead to the recipient of the threat being in fear of harm. The court will consider what was said, how the threat recipient reacted, and the relationship between the accused and the victim.
You could make the argument that a vague threat such as “I will come find you” was not meant to cause fear of serious bodily harm.
Element of Reasonable Fear
An example of a threat that would not be credible: Your neighbor says, “Watch me run for governor and win! Then, I’m going to have the cops come rough you up next time you trespass.” In this example, it does not appear likely that the maker of the threat could carry out their threat. Fear is reasonable if it is foreseeable that the person making the threat could carry out the action they suggest. The court will closely look at the relationship between the person making the threat and the victim to evaluate if fear is reasonable.
Element of Immediate Family Member
According to the jury instructions for PC 601, “immediate family” in this case can mean:
- Brother or sister related by blood or marriage
- A person who regularly lives in the household or who regularly lived with the threat recipient within a 6 month lookback period of the incident at issue.
In your initial case evaluation, an attorney will discuss your situation and any available defenses you may have, based on the elements of the crime that prosecutors must prove.
Aggravated Trespassing: Common Defenses and Related Crimes
Defense to regular trespassing is simple, such as you had right or consent to be on a property. An aggravated trespassing charge is more complex, due to the element of threat of harm. Common defenses to a charge of aggravated trespassing argue the elements of the crime:
- There was no credible threat
- There was no intent to cause reasonable fear for someone’s safety
- There was no intent to carry out the threat.
Crimes related, and sometimes charged along with Aggravated Trespassing include:
If you’re facing charges for trespassing or any other crime in California, contact The Rodriguez Law Group to discuss your legal rights and options.
How is Aggravated Trespassing Different than Regular Trespassing?
- Entering and occupying a property without permission/consent, such as jumping over a fence to take a shortcut across someone’s property
- Not checking out of a hotel room after you’ve been asked to do so (and not paying to stay)
- Cutting down a tree on someone else’s property without permission
- Taking dirt or stone off someone’s land without permission
- Refusing screening at an airport
“Regular” trespassing can be an infraction punishable by a fine or a misdemeanor.
A property owner or lessor can also sue the trespasser for money damages, for example, if someone smashed a gate, or cut down a tree that was blocking an ocean view (there are no “view easements” in California unless explicitly granted). If no damage to the property occurred, the compensation would be the amount that a reasonable person would pay to travel over the land. This amount may be minimal.
What Does a “No Trespassing – Violators Will Be Prosecuted” Sign Mean?
You’ve probably seen a sign before that says “No Trespassing – Violators will be Prosecuted.”
Although this is a common sign, the language is a bit inaccurate, as it implies a property owner can prosecute, when only the government can decide whether or not to prosecute a case. It is used because it is a more threatening tone than ‘Violators will be Sued” which is the actual civil remedy a property owner has.
Entering a property when a sign is present is usually charged as an infraction – punishable by a fine of seventy-five dollars ($75).
Get a Free Consultation with a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney
At The Rodriguez Law Group, we understand how unsettling it is to be arrested and face charges that can substantially alter your future. Call us to discuss your case with an experienced Los Angeles aggravated trespassing lawyer. We are happy to evaluate your case and answer your questions. If we represent you, we will make sure you do not enter a courtroom without a strong defense.
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