Most people know that you should not enter or remain on someone else's property without permission. Even if you didn't intend any harm, when you purposefully remain on the property of another you could be found guilty of Florida's criminal trespass laws.
Florida law recognizes two forms of criminal trespass:
- Trespass in Structure or Conveyance
- Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance
For purposes of this statute, a "conveyance" is defined as a sleeping car, an aircraft, a trailer, an automobile, or a boat, vessel or ship. This means you could face a criminal trespass charge for sleeping in someone else's car without permission.
Proof of Intent is Required
Although a conviction for criminal trespass doesn't require actual proof of intent to trespass, it does require proof that the defendant willfully entered or remained on the property without permission. For permission to be withdrawn, it must be communicated so that they are put on notice that they should leave.
What is Criminal Trespass in Florida
The following are common ways that Florida's criminal trespass laws are violated:
- Entering onto another's property to interfere with business
- Unlawfully occupying the property of another
- Refusing to leave the property of another upon the owner's request
- Refusing to leave a public building during those hours of the day or night when the building is regularly closed to the public after being asked to leave by an employee
What Happens if You're Convicted of Criminal Trespass
Depending on the circumstances, criminal trespass in a structure or property carries penalties that may include jail, probation, and a permanent criminal record. A typical misdemeanor conviction carries up to 60 days in jail. However, if the defendant possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the criminal trespass, the violation can be charged as a third-degree felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years.
Overview of Florida's Criminal Trespass Laws
Florida has a series of laws covering criminal trespass that are based on the type of property or structure being trespassed upon. This chart highlights the primary statutes, defenses, and penalties related to a charge of criminal trespass.
|Elements and Penalties
Class 2 Misdemeanor
- Willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance
- Without being authorized, licensed, or invited
- Is warned by the owner, lessee, or authorized person
- To depart and refuses to do so
Class 1 Misdemeanor
- All the elements of a Class 2 misdemeanor are met; and
- A person was present in the structure or property when the offender trespassed, attempted to trespass, or was in the structure or property
Class 3 Felony
- All the elements of a Class 1 misdemeanor are met; and
- Offender is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon
||The following are recognized defenses to criminal trespass:
- Lack of Intent
- Reclaiming Your Own Property
Note: State laws are always subject to change. It's important to verify the laws you're researching by conducting your own research or consulting with a qualified Florida criminal defense attorney .
The following links provide additional information on criminal trespass and related charges:
Contact a Florida Defense Attorney About Your Trespass Case
The penalties for criminal trespass range from a small fine to a felony conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help evaluate the evidence against you and develop a strong defense on your behalf. Don't let a criminal trespass conviction impact your future. Consider contacting a local criminal defense attorney for legal help.