Criminal Trespass

What is Criminal Trespass?

An individual criminally trespasses if he or she enters or remains on property (building or land) of another, without consent. The individual must also have had notice that the entry was forbidden; or received notice to depart but failed to do so. Often, with commercial buildings or stores, the person had been given a Trespass Warning in the past, instructing them not to return to that store, which serves as the notice that entry was forbidden.

What can I expect with a Criminal Trespass?

Criminal Trespass cases range from simple trespass across a field, to refusing to leave a store when asked to leave, to entering businesses or buildings, including in the rare occassion, a person's home. Obviously each case is handled differently, depending on the facts and exactly where the trespass occurred. For more detailed information on what to expect in a particular Criminal Trespass case in Austin, call us for a consultation.

Notice to Leave or Stay Out

One of the main arguments or defenses against Criminal Trespass is that the person did not know they could not enter the area, and therefor did not have 'notice' that entry was forbidden. The statute attempts to limit this argument by providing that "Notice" means:

  • oral or written communication by owner;
  • fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;
  • a sign posted on the property or at the entrance indicating that entry is forbidden;
  • the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on property

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(a) A person commits an offense if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person: (1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or (2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.

What are the Criminal Trespass Punishments?

Criminal Trespass penalties depend on where the trespass occurred. It's a Class B misdemeanor, typically, although it can be a Class A misdemeanor if trespassing in a habitation or the person was carrying a deadly weapon.

Penalties for Trespassing
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines

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