Criminal Trespass is generally a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. A criminal charge for criminal trespass most often arises when a person either refuses to leave a premises after being given a trespass warning or when a person comes back after receiving a trespass warning.
Criminal Trespass is defined in Texas Penal Code 30.05 and is defined as a person entering or remaining in or on the property of another, without the effective consent of the owner, and the accused had notice that entry was forbidden or was given notice to depart and failed to do so. A criminal trespass charge in Texas is typically a Class B misdemeanor. However Criminal Trespass of a Habitation is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.
Our attorneys often work with students and young individuals who are charged with criminal trespass and our goal is to seek a dismissal of the charges, either through diversion or negotiation. Contact us immediately if you’ve been charged with criminal trespass in North Texas. Almost every diversion possibility has a strict timeframe in which a first-time offender may be eligible for diversion.
For purposes of criminal trespass charges, “entry” means intrusion of a person’s entire body.
Notice can be provided by:
(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 the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden.
Criminal trespass can be raised to a Class A misdemeanor if the trespass was in a habitation or shelter.
There are defenses to prosecution of criminal trespass that apply in certain situations.
Landowners can provide notice that entry is forbidden by painting trees or posts purple, as long as the purple marks are
(i) vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width;
(ii) 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
(iii) placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than:
(a) 100 feet apart on forest land; or
(b) 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land.
New language added to Chapter 30 of the Texas Penal Code in Sec. § 30.07 created the offense of Trespass by License Holder with an Openly Carried Handgun. The law provides that a license holder commits an offense if the license holder:
The law also provides that a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that, after entering the property, the license holder was personally given the notice by oral communication described by Subsection (b) and subsequently failed to depart.
For more information about defending against allegations of entering a property without permission, call a Fort Worth trespassing lawyer today.