Basic trespassing involves entering someone’s property without permission or a right to do so, but aggravated trespassing is a much more serious offense under the law. Aggravated trespassing occurs when someone trespasses within 30 days of making a threat against the person who owns the property or a neighbor or employee of that property. If you have been accused of any type of trespassing crimes, please call a San Diego trespassing lawyer as soon as possible.
About Trespassing: California Penal Code Section 602
In most cases, trespassing (602) PC in California is a fairly minor crime. Simply entering someone’s fenced off property without permission or entering a property, despite it being marked with a “no trespassing” sign is just an infraction punishable by a minor fine. In slightly more serious trespassing cases where a person enters someone else’s property and then interferes with the owner’s property rights (for example by damaging the property, occupying it without permission or by refusing to leave after being asked to do so), is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 6 months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
When Trespassing is a Felony: 601 PC
On the other hand, aggravated trespassing (defined in California Penal Code Section 601) is a serious crime. It specifically occurs when a person has made a credible threat to cause serious bodily injury to another person within the last 30 days before trespassing onto the threat victim’s property, workplace or a property next to his or her home with the intent to carry out that threat. Because they involve a real danger to the victim, aggravated trespass offenses are taken very seriously by both police and prosecutors. If you have been accused of breaking this law, it is critical you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
It’s important to recognize that in order to prove this charge, the prosecution must show that you:
- made one or more credible criminal threats to cause serious bodily harm to the victim within the last 30 days
- trespassed on the victim’s property, their workplace or on a property next to his or her home
- intended to carry out the previously made threat
If they cannot show all three of these factors are true, you cannot be convicted of this crime under California law. This is why it is so important to hire a San Diego trespassing attorney if you have been accused of such a serious charge as 601 PC.
That being said, seeking immediate psychological counseling is a key component of a defense against aggravated trespassing if there is any credible evidence that you violated this law. Regardless of your true intent, it makes prosecutors and judges nervous when people have taken any step to advance a threat and this action can help you in court.
Penalties for Aggravated Trespassing
State law allows for aggravated trespass offenses to be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and the suspect’s criminal history. When it is charged as a misdemeanor, it can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. As a felony, sentences can range to up to 3 years in prison.
Additionally, many people accused of aggravated trespass will also be charged with other crimes including domestic violence, stalking, burglary and assault. A top San Diego trespassing attorney can help work with the District Attorney to minimize the charges associated with such an act and to get the charges reduced to misdemeanors.
If you have been accused of any kind of trespassing, Peter M. Liss can help you fight the charges -especially if you are charged with the more serious felony offense of 601 PC. Please contact his office at (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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