According to California Penal Code Section 602 trespassing is entering or remaining on the property of another person without a right or permission to do so.
What Elements Need to Be Proved to Be Convicted of California Criminal Trespass?
There are various types of trespassing under California law and each of them has specific elements of the crime, but here are some basic elements that are common for most forms of California trespass. So, prosecutor must be able to establish the following element in order to prove that a defendant is guilty of trespassing:
- Defendant intentionally entered or remained on the property of another person without owners consent
- Defendant did so with the specific intent of interfering with the another person’s property rights
- Defendant actually interfered with that person’s property rights
Common Examples of Violating California’s Criminal Trespass Laws
- Entering another person’s property to interfere with business.
- Unlawfully occupying another person’s e property
- Entering another person’s property with the intent to damage the property
- Refusing to leave another person’s property upon the owner’s request.
Legal Defenses California Penal Code 602 PC Trespassing
Defendant had the owner’s consent to be on the property
If a person can prove that he initially had the owner’s consent to enter the property you he won’t be considered guilty under the California Penal Code Section 602.
Defendant hadn’t occupied the property
In order to convicted for the type of trespass that includes occupying another person’s property the defendant must in some way deprive the owner of the use or enjoyment his property for a continuous period of time. If defendant can show that his presence on the property did not affect the owner’s right to use or enjoy the property, he can’t be guilty of this type of trespass.
Defendant did not interfere with activity on the property
If you are charged for the type of trespass that involves interfering or obstructing on the property such as business activity then you must have actually interfered with or obstructed that business. If you didn’t do so you can’t be convicted of criminal trespass.
Penalties for California Criminal Trespass Under Penal Code 602
In California criminal trespassing charges can be filed as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. The following are penalties for California trespass.
California Infraction Trespass Penalties
The trespass is charged as an infraction in case the defendant willfully entered another person’s land and fence enclosed the land, or a “no trespassing” signs were hung at intervals of no less than three to a mile.
The penalties for California trespass penalties charged as an infraction can include:
- $75 fine for a first offense, and
- $250 fine for a second offense on the same land.
California Misdemeanor Trespass Penalties
The majority of trespass cases are charged as misdemeanors and penalties can include:
- Up to six months or in certain cases up to 1 year in county jail,
- A fine of up to $1,000
California Aggravated Trespass Penalties
California aggravated trespass occurs when the defendant makes credible threat to physically injure a person and then within 30 days of the threat actually enters that person’s property to seemingly carry out that threat. In California law aggravated trespass is considered a wobbler and it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on specific circumstances of the offense.
California Felony Trespass Penalties
California felony trespass penalties include the following:
- Sixteen months, two or three years in county jail; and/or
- Felony probation
California Penal Code 602 PC Trespassing Lawyer
For answers to any other questions you may still have about California Penal Code 602 PC Trespassing charges or to discuss your case confidentially with our team of experienced California criminal defense attorneys.