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Trespassing – El Mirage

Trespassing is an offense that encompasses a wide range of conduct in Arizona. While most people think of trespassing as a cut and dry violation, there are actually many common circumstances where everyday people could find themselves in legal trouble.

The penalties for Trespassing can be rather severe, including prison, jail, and a permanent criminal record ranging from a misdemeanor up to a felony. Given the wide range of penalties, if you are facing Criminal Trespassing charges in El Mirage, it recommended that you consult with a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and determine the best course of action for a successful defense. Contact the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online for a free consultation for your Trespassing case.

Criminal trespassing can be charged three different ways in Arizona:

  • Criminal Trespass in the first degree
  • Criminal Trespass in the second degree
  • Criminal Trespass in the third degree

Criminal Trespass in the First Degree in Arizona

Criminal Trespass in the first degree can range from a class 5 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for these offenses may include prison, jail, probation, and fines. There are six ways a person can be charged with Criminal Trespass in the first degree:

  1. Class 6 felony: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure. (Such as a house or apartment).
  2. Class 1 misdemeanor: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a fenced residential yard.
  3. Class 1 misdemeanor: Knowingly entering any residential yard and, without lawful authority, looking into the residential structure thereon in reckless disregard of infringing on the inhabitant’s right of privacy.
  4. Class 1 misdemeanor: Knowingly entering unlawfully on real property that is subject to a valid mineral claim or lease with the intent to hold, work, take or explore for minerals on the claim or lease.
  5. Class 6 felony: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on the property of another and burning, defacing, mutilating or otherwise desecrating a religious symbol or other religious property of another without the express permission of the owner of the property.
  6. Class 5 felony: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a critical public service facility. 

Potential Penalties for Arizona Criminal Trespass in the First Degree:

A class 5 felony conviction can lead to 6 months to 2.5 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges. A class 6 felony conviction can lead to 4 months to 2 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges. A class 1 misdemeanor conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail, up to 3 years of probation and a maximum fine of $2,500 plus surcharges.

Arizona Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree

A person may be charged with Criminal Trespass in the second degree if they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully in or on any nonresidential structure or in any fenced commercial yard. This includes trespassing at retail establishments, fenced yards in industrial or business zoning areas, and other structures not used as a residence or lodging. Criminal Trespass in the second degree is a class 2 misdemeanor. The potential penalties for Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree:

  • Up to 120 days in jail
  • Up to 2 years of probation
  • Up to $750 fine plus surcharges.

How Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree is Charged in Arizona

The most common type of Trespass in the third degree charge occurs when someone enters or remains on a property after they have been asked to leave or when they have reasonable notice prohibiting their entry. If a person disobeys a no trespassing sign that is clearly visible, they may be charged with Trespass in the third degree, a class 3 misdemeanor offense. Additionally, we see a lot of trespassing cases resulting from overzealous bouncers kicking patrons out of bars. If the patron does not listen to the bouncer on their first request, the police may be called, and the patron may be charged with trespassing. The potential penalties for Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree include:

  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Up to 1 year of probation
  • Up to $500 fine plus surcharges.

Defenses to Trespassing Charges

In cases where there is video surveillance or witnesses identifications (photo line-ups or one-on-one identifications), it may be possible to challenge that you were the person who was allegedly seen trespassing. Or, maybe you were charged incorrectly based on the type of location where the incident occurred. Aside from these common issues, there are other defenses that may be used in a Trespassing case, including:

  • Lack of criminal intent. Trespassing requires that a person knowingly engage in the prohibited conduct. In some cases, we may be able to show that you did not knowingly trespass if you had no reason to believe that you were unlawfully present at the property.
  • No reasonable request to leave. If a person is lawfully present at a property but is later given a request to leave. It may be possible to argue that you were not given a reasonable request to leave or that there is no way for you to have heard an allegedly reasonable request to leave. For example, if you were a patron at a bar and bar security suddenly grabs you and forces you out of the building while telling you to leave. This may not be considered a reasonable request because they did not give you an opportunity to leave before pushing you out of the bar.

Free Initial Consultation for Trespass Charges in El Mirage

Trespassing charges are serious violations in Arizona. Even the lowest level offense may leave you with a permanent criminal conviction. Challenging the state’s evidence may lead to a reduction in charges or a dismissal. In some cases, it may be possible to enter into a diversion program to avoid a conviction. If you are charged with Criminal Trespassing, contact the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online to schedule a free consultation.

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