Trespassing in Texas: The Serious Penalties
Trespassing is the act of walking onto someone else's property even through signs warn that no unauthorized persons are allowed on the land. Trespassing laws vary depending on what state you are in. In Texas, there are very clear penalties set for those who criminally trespass. This is partially because many Texans own large plots of land and don't want strangers wandering near their homes. By setting strict trespassing laws, the government has been able to reduce the amount of trespassing offenses in the area.
There are four different types of trespassing penalties that you can incur. You can be charged with Class A misdemeanor trespassing, Class B misdemeanor trespassing, Class C misdemeanor trespassing, or felony trespassing. The lowest criminal offense for trespassing is a Class C misdemeanor. This happens when a person trespasses on property despite a warning sign or a verbal warning not to enter the area. To be convicted of trespassing, witnesses and the prosecution must prove that the defendant moved his or her entire body onto the property.
This offense is categorized as a Class C because the individual had no intent to cause harm when trespassing onto the property. Most of the time this is only punishable with a fine of up to $500. Hunters are commonly charged with a Class C misdemeanor when they move to retrieve a dead animal off of another person's property.
Class B trespassing is the act of moving into a personal residence or a shelter site. The trespasser must be aware that trespassing was forbidden in order to be charged with this crime. The Penalties normally include up to 180 days in jail or a fine of up to $2,000 for a person that decides to move into a home or shelter without permission. Class A trespassing happens when an individual enters a shelter or residence with a deadly weapon.
Because this means that the trespasser could cause harm top those near him or her, the sentences are harsher. Most of the time, those who are convicted of this crime will spend up to one year in jail and pay a $4,000 fine. A deadly weapon can be anything from a handgun to a baseball bat. Felony trespassing is the most serious of trespassing crimes in Texas. This charge is reserved for those who enter a habitation with the full intent to commit another felony crime.
For example, if a man breaks into a home with the intent to steal, then this would be considered a felony. Prosecutors issue penalties for felony trespassing based on the exact charge that they intend to prosecutor. The judge determines the penalty if the defendant is found guilty. Most of the time, the prosecution will combine the felony trespassing penalties with the penalties associated with the other crimes that were committed. At the trial, if convicted of his or her crime, the defendant will serve extended sentences that cover all offenses.
If you have been charged with trespassing on another person's property, you are certainly going to want a Dallas criminal defense attorney to help you. There are many times that trespassing charges can be confusing. If your entire body was not on the property, then you cannot be convicted of trespassing. Also, if you were carrying any item in your hand, the court will need to determine whether that was a deadly weapon. For example, if you came into the home carrying a large plank of wood, this could be considered a blunt object that is used as a deadly weapon, and you may suffer a harsher sentence. Discuss all of these options with a lawyer at Knight Law Offices today!