Entering another’s property without their effective consent could land you with criminal trespass charges. You can even be charged with criminal trespass if you entered the residence or property on mistake with no intention to commit any crimes. While you may have had no malintent, that won’t stop the state of Texas from prosecuting you in court. The penalties for criminal trespass are nothing to scoff at either. If convicted, you could be facing years in prison as well as thousand-dollar fines.
If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal trespass, it’s vital you seek legal representation immediately. An attorney with extensive defense experience can analyze your case and find the weak points in the prosecution’s argument. They can then formulate a strong defense to fight your charges and protect you from the statutory penalties. With so much at stake, it’s vital you don’t take any chances. Talk to a skilled and reputable attorney so you can get started building your defense today.
Houston Defense Attorney for Criminal Trespass in Texas
Trespassing onto someone else’s property is a crime even if you never planned to do anything malicious to the property or its owner. If you have been arrested for trespassing, then remain silent with the authorities and ask for The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken is a dedicated Texas lawyer with over 30 years of experience on both the prosecution’s side and the defense. His in-depth knowledge of courtroom procedures as well as his ability to craft creative defenses makes Brian Benken an excellent litigator.
You can contact property crimes attorney Benken at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free case review. At the review, Brian Benken will examine your case and start charting out a defense plan right then and there. He can then advise you on what the next best step is so you can get ahead in your case. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients of burglary charges in all communities in Harris County and surrounding counties. Some of these communities include Houston, Hunters Creek Village, Tomball, River Oaks Spring, The Heights and many more.
Overview of Criminal Trespass in Texas
- What Are the Trespassing Laws in Texas?
- Is Criminal Trespass a Misdemeanor or Felony?
- Additional Resources
What Are the Trespassing Laws in Texas?
Normally, when you think of the term “trespassing” you think of a person illegally entering a building. Although that is partly true, the state of Texas has expanded the trespassing statute even further. Under Texas Law Section 30.05, you’re guilty of criminal trespass if you enter or remain on or in the property of another without the owner’s consent. This can include residential land, agricultural land, recreational vehicle parks, buildings, aircrafts, or motor vehicles. For the entry to be considered a crime, you must have entered the property without effective consent and either:
- Had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
- Received notice to depart but failed to do so
It’s important to note that the term “notice” has a specific definition under Texas law. What’s considered a proper “notice” under Texas law includes the following:
- An oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act as the owner of the property;
- Fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;
- Identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on property if the marks are:
- Vertical lines of not less than 8 inches in length and not less than 1 inch in width;
- Placed at the bottom of the mark is not less than 3 feet from the ground or more than 5 feet from the ground; or
- Placed at locations readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than:
- 100 feet apart on forest land; or
- 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land
- There is a visible presence of growing crop for human consumption
Is Criminal Trespass a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
The penalties for criminal trespass depend on if any aggravating factors can be proven at trial. The lightest charge a person can receive for criminal trespassing is a class C misdemeanor. The only way a person can be charged with a class C misdemeanor is if they trespassed agricultural land and within 100 feet of the boundary of the land or residential land that is within 100 feet of a protected freshwater area.
Without aggravating factors, a standard criminal trespass is charged as a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a class B misdemeanor include the following:
- Up to 180 days in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,000
The penalties for criminal trespass can be enhanced if certain facts are proven true at trial. If any of the following factors occurred during the commission of the crime, then the offender will instead face a class A misdemeanor.
- The crime was committed in one of the following:
- A habitation or a shelter center;
- On a Superfund site; or
- On or in a critical infrastructure facility
- The crime was committed on or in property of an institution of higher education and it’s shown at trial that the offender has previous convictions for:
- A crime related to criminal trespass at a school or university; or
- The offender carried a deadly weapon while committing the crime
The maximum penalty for a class A misdemeanor includes the following:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
Texas Laws on Criminal Trespass – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their laws for criminal trespass. Access the site to review the elements of the crime, penalties, admissible defenses and research other related property crimes.
Punishments | Texas Penal Code– Before you enter a courtroom, it’s important to know how criminal offenses are punished. Follow this link to find how every criminal offense in Texas is penalized and what the minimum/maximums are. You can also learn penalties for people labeled as habitual felons and crimes committed for bias or prejudice.
Criminal Trespass Attorney in Harris County, TX
If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal trespass, it’s vital you get in touch with legal representation fast. The penalties for criminal trespass are serious and, in some cases, you could even be sent to jail. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Find quality and experienced counsel with Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm.
Attorney Brian Benken has over 30 years of experience, so he knows what it takes to defend you and your liberty. Take the first step to building your defense and contact The Benken Law Firm. The Benken Law Firm defends clients of burglary charges in all communities in Harris County and surrounding counties. Some of these communities include River Oaks, Downtown Houston, Tomball, The Heights, Spring, Hunters Creek Village, and many more.