What is Trespassing?
In the state of Arizona, trespassing is defined as a situation where a person intentionally enters and spends time on a property without the owner’s permission or after they have already been asked to leave. This also applies to situations where a “no trespassing” sign is present and ignored.
Trespassing can turn into criminal trespassing when the person enters a residential property unlawfully in a reckless manner, thus compromising the privacy of the people inside. Depending on the severity of the situation, criminal trespassing may be to the first, second, or third degree.
Penalties and Consequences for Criminal Trespassing
Criminal trespassing is a very serious offense, regardless of whether it’s in the first, second, or third degree. For example, a first degree criminal trespass charge is considered a class six felony in the state of Arizona, and it carries a punishment of up to one year in jail, four months in prison, or two years of incarceration.
In some cases, first-degree trespassing may be categorized as a misdemeanor. This is often the case in situations where the person was said to have entered a residential property unlawfully without a mineral claim. In this case, it would be considered a class one misdemeanor, which can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
A second degree criminal trespass charge is considered a class two misdemeanor, which carries up to four months in jail as a punishment plus fines of up to $750.
Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class three misdemeanor in Arizona and carries a punishment of up to 30 days in jail, plus a fine of up to $500.
Potential Defense Options for Criminal Trespassing
Criminal trespassing is not an easy charge to fight in court. However, there are some possible defenses that may be considered by a defense attorney, if applicable. For example, one of the best defenses for criminal trespassing is the claim that the accused person did not have intent to trespass. In such a situation, it would need to be proven that the accused did not know he or she was unlawfully entering or residing on the property.
In other cases, it may be argued that the person who asked the alleged trespasser to leave the property didn’t have the authority to do so in the first place.
No matter what level of criminal trespass charges you or somebody you know may be facing, it is imperative that you have the right defense and representation in court.