Criminal Trespass (A.R.S. 13-1502, 13-1503 & 13-1504)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-1502, §13-1503 and §13-1504, “Trespass” is generally when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully on a piece of property after they have been requested to leave, or without the expressed permission of the owner, or in violation of a posted sign warning of Trespass.
Per A.R.S. §13-1504, Criminal Trespass in the “First-Degree” occurs when a person enters or remains unlawfully on a residential structure (or fenced residential yard and they are looking into the residential structure) in reckless disregard of infringing on the inhabitants right of privacy. It can also occur on a piece of property without a valid mineral claim with the intent to hold, work, take or explore for minerals on the piece of property. Lastly, it can also occur by entering or remaining unlawfully on a critical public service facility or on a piece of property of another with the intent of burning or defacing a religious symbol (i.e., “cross burning”).
Per A.R.S. §13-1503, Criminal Trespass in the “Second-Degree” occurs when a person unlawfully enters or remains on a non-residential structure or fenced commercial yard.
Per A.R.S. §13-1502, Criminal Trespass in the “Third-Degree” occurs when a person has received a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, and they have refused to do so. This can also occur when they are in violation of a posted “No Trespassing” sign. Sometimes this can occur when a person remains unlawfully on the right of way for train tracks or property of a railroad company.
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Possible Punishment for Criminal Trespass
Criminal Trespass in the “First Degree” is a class six (6) felony if it involves the entering or remaining unlawfully in a residential structure, involves a “cross burning”, or involves entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a critical public service facility. For a first offense class six (6) felony, the punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration.. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarters (2.75) years in prison. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) to five and three quarters (5.75) years of incarceration.
If the Criminal Trespass involved the entering or remaining unlawfully on a fenced residential yard, looking into a residential structure (”peeping”), or on a piece of property without a valid mineral claim (”illegal mining”), then it will be charged as a class one (1) misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is probation with anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, and a fine of up to $2500.00 plus an 84% surcharge.
Criminal Trespass in the “Second-Degree” can be charged as a class two (2) misdemeanor. A class two (2) misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of probation and up to four (4) months in jail. Additionally, a fine of $750.00 plus 80% surcharges can be imposed.
Criminal Trespass in the “Third-Degree” is charged as a class three (3) misdemeanor. A class three (3) misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of probation with up to thirty (30) days in jail. In addition, a fine of up to $500.00 plus an 80% surcharge can be imposed.
Possible Defenses for Criminal Trespass
A key defense to a Trespass charge is that the defendant “Lacked the Requisite Intent” to trespass. This is accomplished by demonstrating that the defendant was not aware that they were unlawfully entering, or remaining on the property- the defendant thought they were allowed to be there. This can occur where the defendant was never properly informed that they could not enter a piece of property or that they had to leave the property. Very often we will see cases involving skateboarders who were skating in a parking lot of a local church or park, and unbeknownst to them there was a sign posted which states “No Trespassing – No Skateboarding”. The sign must be conspicuously posted at an area that can be seen by all. It is important to diagram the actual area of the park or church parking lot to show that there were other entrances located far distances from the posted sign so that people could enter without being aware of the regulation.
Another defense which exists with regards to Trespassing is that the person who asked the defendant to leave the property did not have actual authority to revoke permission. Usually, this situation occurs where the defendant has been given permission to come to a party at someone’s house, and then another person who either lives in the house or is staying there asks the defendant to leave. It is important to interview all witnesses to demonstrate the facts surrounding the incident and to create a timeline that establishes who gave permission, when it was received, and who attempted to revoke permission and when they attempted to do so. We must also present evidence to demonstrate the defendant’s good character, and the reporting party’s propensity to “overreact”.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Trespassing lawyer to defend you, who has knowledge of all possible defenses to assert in your Trespassing case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Trespass Lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Trespass Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Trespass Lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona. We will have you come in for a free case review and hopefully assist you with your Trespass case.