Criminal trespass may appear to be a lesser type of crime and is often taken too lightly in many instances. However, the penalties that you may face if convicted can involve not only fines, but also jail time. When additional aggravating circumstances are involved, the penalties can also increase. That’s why it’s important to garner the help of an experienced Houston trespassing attorney if you have been charged with criminal trespass.
Houston property crimes lawyer Ned Barnett is ready to stand by your side and fight vigorously to have your charges reduced or altogether eliminated if possible. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 or contact us online to request a free case evaluation.
Trespassing in Texas Defined
Texas law defines trespassing as the act of entering or remaining on the property of another person without their consent, and:
- The person received ‘proper notice’ that entering the property was prohibited
- The person was provided notice to depart the property, but failed to do so
As well, the person’s entire body must enter the property for it to be counted as a trespass.
Also, if it was your intent to commit a felony, such as a theft or assault during the act of trespassing, then you charges may increase correspondingly.
The Standard for Proper Notice
Proper notice may be provided under Texas Law through:
- Written or oral communication from the owner or owner’s authorized representative
- Signage that explains the prohibition and is reasonably likely to be seen
- An enclosure such as fencing that is clearly in place to prevent unauthorized entry or contain livestock
- The presence of crops that appear to be for purposes of harvesting
Types of Trespassing Offenses and Penalties
Texas law outlines four types of trespassing, ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses:
Class C Trespassing
- The lowest trespassing offense that deals mainly with land trespassing
- Includes no malice or intent to harm
- Normally committed by hunters recovering injured or dead animals on another’s property
- Punishable by a maximum fine of $500
Class B Trespassing
- When you trespass a personal residence or shelter site (homeless, women’s battered, etc.) with personal knowledge that entering the site was forbidden.
- Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000 (these penalties are adjustable downward at the judge’s discretion)
Class A Trespassing
- When you trespass a personal residence, shelter site or Superfund Site carrying a deadly weapon such as a gun, knife, bat, or other blunt objects
- Punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000
- When you trespass a habitation with the intention to commit another felony crime such as murder, assault or burglary
- The penalties are determined based on the other felonies attempted or committed along with the trespass
A trespassing charge applies a permanent mark on your criminal record regardless of the seriousness of the offense. As a consequence, you may find it difficult to obtain employment, rent an apartment, and apply for a loan for school or other purposes.
Defend Yourself from a Conviction – A Houston Trespassing Attorney Can Help
An experienced Houston property crimes lawyer can defend you against your trespassing charges based on the facts and taking advantage of weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Some defense strategies include:
- The notice forbidding entry was not proper
- You were given consent
- You actually own the property in question
- You believed the property to be abandoned and you complied with other imposed conditions
- You believe with reasonable certainty that had you asked you would have been provided permission to enter the property
- You were attempting to serve a legal process and it was necessary to enter the property to perform the service
Houston trespassing attorney Ned Barnett has more than three decades of experience helping clients like you achieve beneficial outcomes and move on with their lives. With considerable resources, he will fight hard on your behalf to reduce the consequences of your trespassing charge.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 today and request a free consultation.