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Santa Barbara Trespassing Defense Attorneys

Defense for Trespassing

Trespassing laws in California are surprisingly detailed and complicated, and involve numerous offenses and charges that can be brought against a person. There are many different forms of trespassing: simply entering a person's property without permission; cutting down or destroying wood or timber on another person's property; entering a neonatal unit, maternity ward, or birthing center without a lawful reason to be there; the list goes on.

What Is Trespassing?

In its most basic sense, trespassing refers to the act of entering another person's property without permission, as well as behavior on another person's property that is destructive. It can also include refusing to leave property when asked to do so by the property owner or an authorized person such as a police officer or employee of a business. This means that someone can legally enter a location, but be charged with trespassing if he or she refuses to leave when asked or told to do so. There are a number of specific locations that have unique trespassing laws and penalties in California, including airports and shelters for battered women.

Different Types of Trespassing

A complete list of different forms of trespassing in California would be far too lengthy to place here, but there are a few common types worth mentioning in particular. If you have concerns about the legality of your actions or want to know if someone has trespassed on your property, consult a Santa Barbara defense attorney for more information about your specific situation. Here are some common types of trespassing:

  • Entering land for the purpose of injuring property or property rights or to interfere with the lawful business of the owner of the land.
  • Building fires on any land owned by someone else with signs forbidding trespass.
  • Opening, tearing down, or destroying fences and gates on another person's enclosed land, as well as removing or destroying signs forbidding shooting on private property.
  • Cutting down, destroying, and/or removing timber or wood on someone else's land.
  • Refusing or failing to leave another person's land after the owner requests it, as well as discharging a firearm on someone else's land without permission.
  • Entering and occupying property or structures without the consent of the owner.
  • Driving a vehicle on someone else's land without permission.
  • Entering private areas of an airport without authorization; there are greater penalties for refusing to leave such a location when told to do so.
  • Failing or refusing to leave a battered women's shelter after being told to leave by the manager of that shelter.

How Serious Is a Trespassing Charge?

Trespassing charges in California are typically misdemeanors, though in some instances they can range in severity from infractions to felonies. For example, cutting down trees on someone else's property is a misdemeanor, but issuing a threat against that landowner can result in more serious charges in addition to trespassing. Some situations have escalating factors: entering a neonatal unit, maternity ward, or birthing center without a lawful reason to be there can be an infraction with a $100 fine; but refusing to leave once told to do so can result in a $1,000 fine and imprisonment in county jail for up to one year.

Viable Trespassing Defenses

In general, the best defense against a trespassing charge is proving that you have permission to be on the location or perform the action that has been considered a trespass. It is always best to get such permission in writing just in case you need to prove that you were not trespassing. Other factors, such as criminal intent, can also play a part in a trespassing charge.

Do not try to defend against a trespassing charge by yourself. Call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 to go over the details of your case and explore your options.

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