Trespassing may appear to be a harmless act, but trespassing in West Palm Beach is a punishable offense. Criminal charges are possible for criminal trespassing, which occurs when a person intentionally stays in or on a property after being asked to leave. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges and severe consequences if you are convicted of this offense. If you’ve been charged with this seemingly minor crime, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable trespassing attorney in West Palm Beach to discuss the charges against you.
What is Trespassing in South Florida?
Trespassing is a property crime that requires a specific intent. This means that in order to prove trespassing, the state must show that the alleged offender willfully entered or remained in a structure, conveyance, or other private property where he was not welcome. There are three general types of trespassing offenses in West Palm Beach:
- Trespassing in a building or vehicle
- Trespassing on private property or a residence
- Trespassing on school grounds
Entering any of these areas without authorization or remaining in these areas after being asked to leave or receiving a warning, either verbal or written, constitutes trespassing. If there are properly placed signs asking trespassers to leave, such as “No Trespassing,” “No Entry,” or signs that restrict who can enter like “Employees Only,” under the law these count as written warnings.
Penalties for Trespassing in West Palm Beach
Trespassing is generally a misdemeanor crime, although under certain circumstances charges and penalties may be enhanced. If the property upon which the alleged offender trespassed was unoccupied, and the alleged offender remained unarmed, this is a second degree misdemeanor crime for which one could face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the property was occupied, the alleged offender could face first degree misdemeanor charges, for which the penalties could include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Trespassing becomes a third-degree felony when the alleged offender is armed, or when the offense took place on school property, regardless of whether the offender was armed or not. The unlawful entry of a construction site, a domestic violence center or an agricultural research center may also lead to felony charges. You may also face felony charges if other crimes were committed while the trespassing took place.
Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach
Third degree felony charges can lead to a term of up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Do not take your chances. Speak with an experienced property crimes attorney in West Palm Beach who defends trespassing cases. Attorney Brian Gabriel has served Palm Beach County for over 25 years as a dedicated criminal defense lawyer. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or reach out to us online.