Dallas Criminal Trespass Lawyer | Trespassing Defense

What is Criminal Trespassing in Dallas?

Under Texas Penal Code 30.05, a person commits criminal trespass if he or she enters or remains on another person’s property without the effective consent of the owner and

  • had notice that that the entry was forbidden; OR
  • received notice to leave but failed to do so.

Property can include land, buildings, planes, vehicles, or RV parks.

Simply put, you commit criminal trespass if you go into a place or onto a property where you know you are not supposed to be. For example, entering someone’s fenced yard with a sign that says “Keep Out” without the owner’s permission could constitute criminal trespassing.

Criminal Trespass

Dallas Criminal Trespass Lawyer, Serving Dallas and the Surrounding Areas

In the grand scheme of things, criminal trespass may not seem like a very serious offense. However, a conviction can significantly impact your life, carrying the possibility of jail time, fines, and a criminal record.

That’s why it is important to contact a skilled Dallas criminal trespass lawyer if you have been accused of this offense. It’s important to resolve your case in a manner that will not result in a conviction and negatively impact your future.

In this article, our attorneys explain the law, the punishment, and possible defenses to criminal trespassing in Dallas.

What is the punishment for criminal trespassing in Dallas?

In Texas, criminal trespassing is generally a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.

Class B Misdemeanors in Texas

However, if the offense was committed in a habitation, shelter or critical infrastructure facility, it is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.

What are the collateral consequences for a Dallas criminal trespass conviction?

Even though it is a misdemeanor offense, there are numerous collateral consequences to a conviction for criminal trespassing. A criminal record can make it difficult to get a job, housing or a professional license. That’s why it is imperative to work with an experienced Dallas trespassing lawyer to avoid a conviction.

What is “notice” under the Texas criminal trespass law?

The term “notice” means that you were told, either verbally or in writing, not to enter the property. The owner can give you this notice in person; through signage on the property; or even through someone else, such as a security guard.

Specifically, Texas law states that “notice” means:

A. oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;

B. fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;

C. a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to a building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders;

D. the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property;

E. the visible presence of crops that are being harvested.

What’s the significance of purple trees and criminal trespassing?

In Texas, landowners can mark their trees or posts with vertical lines of purple paint to indicate that entry is not allowed. This is often done in rural areas where the property owner wants to keep people out for hunting or other reasons. Basically, it is the equivalent of a “No Trespassing” sign.

Purple Trees meaning in Texas

It’s important to note that, by law, the purple paint marks must be:

  • verticle lines that are at least eight inches in length and an inch wide;
  • placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground or more than five feet from the ground; and
  • placed at locations that are readily visible to anyone approaching and no more than 100 feet apart on forest land or 1000 feet apart on land that is not forest land.

How can a Dallas criminal trespass lawyer defend my case?

There are several defenses that an experienced Dallas criminal trespass lawyer can assert on your behalf, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. These defenses may include:

  • You had the owner’s permission to be on the property;
  • You didn’t have notice that entry was forbidden;
  • Notice to leave was given by someone without authority;

Our criminal defense attorneys stand between you and the government

It is also a defense to prosecution if the person entering the property is

  • a firefighter or emergency medical services provider acting in their official duty under exigent circumstances.
  • an employee or agent of an electric utility, telecommunications provider, video service provider, gas utility, pipeline, electric cooperative acting within the scope of their employment.
  • an individual who is employed by an entity that they believed had consent or authorization to enter the property.

An experienced Dallas criminal trespass lawyer with our law firm will thoroughly investigate your case to determine the best defense strategy for you.

What is criminal trespassing with a concealed or an openly carried handgun?

In Texas, it is legal to carry handguns in many places if it is in a holster or concealed, but private property owners and business owners have the right to prohibit them if they give proper notice.

Under Texas Penal Codes 30.06 and 30.07, it is an offense to carry a concealed or open-carry handgun on another persons property without consent and received notice that entering the property with a concealed or openly carried handgun is forbidden.

Carrying a gun onto property where it is not permitted is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $200 fine. The punishment is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail if, the gun owner, refused to leave after he or she was given notice.

What are some examples of criminal trespassing in Texas?

  • Jumping a fence onto someone’s property;
  • Staying on someone’s property after being asked to leave;
  • Carrying a holstered handgun into a business that has a sign that says “firearms prohibited.”
  • Refusing to leave a store when asked by a security guard;

These are just a few examples of criminal trespassing in Texas. If you have been charged with criminal trespass, it is important to speak with an experienced Dallas criminal trespass lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and defenses.

Speak to a Dallas Criminal Trespass Lawyer Today.

Varghese Summersett Criminal Defense Lawyers in Dallas

If you have been arrested for criminal trespassing in Dallas, it’s important to take the charge seriously to avoid a conviction on your record. At Varghese Summersett, we will do everything in our power to obtain a dismissal in your case, either through negotiations with the prosecutor or possibly a diversion program.

We have a proven record of success in obtaining dismissals in criminal trespass cases, and we will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible outcome for you. Call 214-903-4000 today for a free consultation with a Dallas criminal trespass lawyer.

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