Florida Trespassing Defense Attorneys

Aggressive Representation for Your Trespassing Charge

Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense to enter or remain on another’s property when you do not have permission to do so. This is referred to as trespass or trespassing. A common scenario would be if an unruly patron re-enters an establishment such as a nightclub, restaurant, or bar when they were specifically asked to leave the premises. Such an event is usually classified as a misdemeanor but can escalate into a felony in certain circumstances. You can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation. If charged with a trespassing misdemeanor, which is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to 60 days in jail and/or receive a fine of up to $500. Additionally, if you are accused of having a weapon in your possession during the transgression, you may face third-degree felony charges. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

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Details about Trespassing

As provided by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University, trespassing takes place when a person enters and/or remains in a building (or structure) that he/she has not been granted permission to enter. As indicated by Federal Code Chapter 11.411, most offenses under this category are labeled as petty misdemeanors, with the exception of trespassing onto property at night (in which case the crime is labeled as a misdemeanor).  A person can be charged with trespassing if he/she entered a building, by which a notice of trespass is authorized by: 
  • Communication with the perpetrator. 
  • A legal posting.
  • A posting set up by the owner/proprietor.
  • Fences or enclosures that have been established to keep out intruders. 

 A Closer Look at Terms Associated with Trespassing 

To fully understand the different types of locations associated with crimes of trespassing in the State of Florida, here is a closer look at some terms outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 810.011
  • “Structure” refers to any type of building (either permanent or temporary) which is covered by a roof of some sort. Remnants of an original building site may also fall under the same definition. 
  • “Posted land” refers to land that contains signs reading “no trespassing” (which may be no further than 500 feet apart and must have letters that are at least 2 inches high) or letters (painted on trees or other materials) that also read this message. 
  • “Fenced land” refers to land that has been contained via fence or additional types of enclosures (e.g. walls, logs, posts). 

Trespassing in a Building or Other Type of Structure in Florida 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 810.08(1), any person who attempts to enter the premises of a building, structure, or any other variety of property without receiving permission from the landowner, proprietor, or resident, or after receiving a warning from these individuals, will have committed a crime of trespass. 
  • Chapter 810.08(2) states that any person who trespasses on private property will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $500. 
  • Additionally, if a person is occupying the premises during the time of the crime, the charges will be increased to a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000. 
  • Also, any culprit who is armed with a weapon or becomes armed in the process of trespassing on the property will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000. (By law, any property owner who believes the culprit poses a threat and has committed a trespassing crime, may take the culprit into custody and detain the individual until law enforcement officers arrive.) 

Trespassing on Property That Is Not Designated as Buildings in Florida 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 810.09(1a-b), any person who (without receiving permission to do so) wanders onto property that is not designated as a structure or a building of any sort that is marked with a “no trespassing” sign and/or fenced (or contained in another manner) will be charged with a crime of trespassing. 
  • Any person who commits an act of trespassing on protected property will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000. 
  • If the culprit refuses to leave (after receiving a warning) and/or opens a door or gate that endangers crops, animals, or additional forms of property by exposure to litter or pollution, he/she will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000. 
  • If the culprit is armed with a weapon (or becomes armed with a weapon) during the process of trespassing on this marked property, this culprit will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000. Culprits will also be charged with this crime if the property is marked with “no trespassing” signs and/or is fenced or partitioned. 

Trespassing on School Property in Florida 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 810.097 (1a-b) states that if any person trespasses (or attempts to trespass) on school property who is not associated with a school campus or related organization, is not licensed to be on the property for any purpose, or is a student who has recently been expelled, they will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 60-day imprisonment and/or a fine that does not exceed $500.  Under Chapter 810.097(2) states that any individual who has previously been warned not to enter the premises (by the school’s principal or an associate) and willingly and intentionally ignores this warning (by wandering onto school property) will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000.  In keeping with Chapter 810.097(3), Florida State Law allows the chief administrative officer to take a culprit into custody until authorities arrive at the scene if the officer has reason to believe this individual is trespassing on the school property (despite recent warnings not to do so).  In this situation, “school” refers to any facility including:
  • Kindergarten schools
  • Elementary schools
  • Middle schools
  • Junior high schools
  • Any form of secondary school

Details about Trespassing and Burglary 

Under Chapter 810 of the Florida Statutes, trespassing is also associated with the crime of burglary. As defined in Title XLVI Chapter 810.01(1b), burglary takes place when a person:
  • Enters (or attempts to enter) a structure or wanders onto posted/fenced land with the willing intention to commit a crime on these premises when the property is open to the public or closed. 
  • Wandering onto property without having previously received permission to enter these premises from the property owner/administrator. 
Any person who attempts to burglarize property will ultimately be charged in one of three ways, depending on the severity of the crime: 
  • Chapter 810.01(2a-c): If the perpetrator has inflicted physical injuries on another person, is armed during the robbery, and/or enters the structure without permission, this individual will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $10,000-$15,000. 
  • Chapter 810.01(3): If the perpetrator has not attempted to injure anyone while illegally entering the premises and is not armed, he/she will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $10,000. 
  • Chapter 810.01(4): If the perpetrator has not assaulted a victim, carried a weapon, or left the premises, he/she will potentially be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000. 

Details about Trespassing and Voyeurism

Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 810.14 (1a-b), trespassing is also associated with the crime of voyeurism. As indicated in this chapter, voyeurism takes place when a person intentionally observes a person (including that person’s intimate parts) when this victim should be protected by the legal boundaries of private property.  If a person has committed an act of voyeurism, he/she may be charged in one of two possible ways, depending on the severity of the crime: 
  • First-time offenders will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000. 
  • Any person who has been convicted of this crime two or more times will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000. 

Determining a Valid Case for Trespassing in a Building or Other Type of Property 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 810.08, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 13.3, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:    
  • The defendant had willingly and intentionally entered a structure and/or remained inside this building. 
  • The alleged person had been an owner or proprietor of the structure during the time of the crime. 
  • The defendant had entered the premises of this structure without previously receiving the permission of the owner, agent, proprietor, or any other individual legally associated with this structure. 
Under a similar situation, the members of the court must also prove that: 
  • The defendant had been permitted to enter the premises of this structure. 
  • The owner had warned the defendant to leave the premises. 
  • The defendant had refused to leave the structure after receiving the warning from the owner. 
If the defendant was charged with carrying a gun on the property, the court must prove without any shred of doubt that this individual had harbored a weapon (for means of defense) while committing the act of trespassing. 

Determining a Valid Case for Trespassing on Property That Is Not Designated as a Structure 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 810.09(1)(a)1 and 2, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 13.4, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:     
  • The defendant had willingly and intentionally entered property not categorized as a building or any other type of structure. 
  • The alleged person legally and lawfully held authority and ownership over this land during the time of the crime. 
  • The property had been fenced off and/or harbored a sign that designated a “no trespassing” zone. 
  • The defendant had willingly wandered onto the property (despite reading the sign and understanding the property was fenced off) with an intention to cause harm to a victim and/or cause damage to property. 
Once again, in the event that a weapon was involved, the court must prove without any shred of doubt that the defendant had been carrying a weapon for means of defense or deadly force during the time the crime was committed. 

Determining a Valid Case for Trespassing on School Property  

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 810.097, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 13.5(a), members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:     
  • Had wandered onto the school campus or property owned by the school. 
  • Was not authorized to enter these premises. 
  • Was a student previously expelled from the school. 

Have Your Trespassing Charges Dropped or Reduced – Call (888) 484-5057

Don’t take any chances with your future or your freedom! Contact our skilled Florida criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law today to learn more about what we can do to help you fight your charges and defend your rights. We have over 150+ years of cumulative legal experience defending the right of our clients and we have multiple offices located across the state of Florida for your convenience.

Some trespassing defenses we strive to prove in court include:

  • Lack of or improper warning signs on property
  • Later invitation on the property
  • Lack of intent to enter a property illegally
  • Landlord-tenant conflict about entrance
Don’t allow a trespassing charge to ruin the rest of your life! Allow our experienced legal team to help you. We’ve obtained many positive verdicts where the charges have been reduced or dropped altogether. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a free and no-obligation case assessment with one of our experienced attorneys.
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