If you enter a property advertently that you have no right to enter or stay on a property knowing you do not have the right to be there, this means that you are committing criminal trespass. Trespassing can include both private and public property. No warning is necessary for you to receive verbally by the owner’s property rules. If the owner orders you to leave, you should leave the property.
The punishment for criminal trespass varies according to the offense. Courts generally do not impose significant jail terms, fines, or long probation periods in criminal trespass cases, though the potential penalties vary among states. In general, trespassing is considered a minor offense, and it typically does not come with severe punishments. The severity of punishment for trespassing depends on the circumstances of your case and the laws in your state.
There are laws in many states that differentiate between different types or severity levels of trespassing. Every state’s regulations differ in terms of degrees, jail, time served, fines, court costs, or probation. For example, in Washington state, it is a punishable offense by severe penalties along with jail time and fines.
How much does trespassing cost?
You will be charged a fine depending upon where you live, what the state considers trespassing, and whether an attorney is involved. In general, trespassing tickets can cost from $100 to more than $2,500 and are considered misdemeanors. When it comes to felony offenses, fines can reach $100,000. Crimes like criminal trespass are usually less than $500 in most cases if that is the only crime you have to pay for.
You can typically face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000 if charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor in California. The penalty for trespassing is $75 for a first offense and $250 for a second offense if you intentionally entered someone else’s property and it was either surrounded by an electric fence or had a sign explicitly telling you not to enter. On the other hand, if this is your third offense on the same property, you will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and possibly jail time.
In Washington, the second degree of criminal trespassing is when you advertently enter or remain unlawfully on someone’s property in a manner that doesn’t fit the definition of first-degree trespassing. Depending on the severity, the punishment may include 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in a fine. When you enter or stay unlawfully in a building, you commit criminal trespass in the first degree, a gross misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to 364 days in jail and fined up to $5,000 if convicted of this offense.
The felony committed depends on the type of property involved and the personal reason why an individual entered or remained on the property; the degree of trespass that gets charged will vary.
An article from JacksonWhite, a law firm in Mesa, Arizona explains what you could face when trespassing in the state. For example, an individual who commits the crime of first-degree criminal trespass could serve no longer than six months in prison and be fined as much as $2,500 for a misdemeanor. Those who commit trespassing in the third degree are not penalized for more than $500. The fine for second-degree trespassing can be at a maximum of $750. A judge’s decision is based entirely on your criminal record and the judge’s determination.
According to a lawyer on Avvo.com, the fee for a class three misdemeanor can range between $50 and as much as $100,000. It is valid for a first-class criminal trespass, which is deemed a class five felony depending upon the severity of the offense.
A few hundred dollars to more than $4,000 is a fine for trespassing, according to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com.
Trespassing Fee Overview
As with any crime, the first degree of trespassing offense is the most severe. Trespassing offenses vary from state to state, usually classified as a first, second, or third-degree offense. As a rule, trespassing is regarded as a first-degree crime when somebody maliciously and unlawfully enters or stays in a building, real property, or inhabitable structure that belongs to another person.
You may be sentenced to prison for trespassing, again depending on the circumstances and where you live. Generally, jail time is imposed rarely in cases of trespassing, but it is taken into account if it is related to any other crime.
Any additional costs to consider
Estimated court fines only include court fines. Any lawyer fees, if they would be needed, aren’t included. An attorney will usually charge somewhere around $250+ per hour on average. In most cases, it takes hours of preparation and court time to resolve a case like this. You’ll need somewhere between a few hundred dollars and well over ten thousand dollars depending on circumstances. Whenever convicted of a crime, you will have to pay costly court fees that can exceed $100. They intend to compensate the courts and prosecutors for their expenses.
How to pay less
Having a lawyer on your side is always a great idea, especially if you face jail time or felony charges. If you think a lawyer costs a lot, keep in mind that once they win, they can reduce your fines, offset the cost of the lawyer, remove the offense from your record, and perhaps even save you months in jail. Almost every lawyer is willing to offer a free consultation, so be sure to talk to some in your area to see if they will work within your budget and case.
The best way to avoid this penalty is to think twice before entering any vacant or occupied premises without prior permission. The procedure in this kind of case is lengthy and can cost a lot for a person of any income group.