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If you have been charged with criminal trespass then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. Our attorneys represent clients charged with criminal trespass and more serious property crimes throughout San Antonio, Bexar County, and the surrounding areas in Texas.
Important defenses exist to this criminal charge including the fact that you did not receive adequate notice. Call us today to discuss the case and the best ways to fight this criminal accusation. Call 210-226-1463 today.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 30.05, criminal trespass includes the following elements:
For purposes of the criminal trespass statute, the term "entry" is defined as the intrusion of the entire body.
For trespass cases that hinge on whether the person had notice that the entry was forbidden, the term "notice" is defined to include a oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner. Notice can also occur when one of the following is proven:
In most cases, a criminal trespass is charged as a Class B misdemeanor depending on the place where the trespass occurred. Trespass as a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Certain enhanced penalties and conditions apply if the property subject to the criminal trespass charge can include residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, an aircraft or other vehicle.
The crime is further elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if the person carries a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense. Even without a weapon, the offense can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor if the trespass occurred in a habitation or a shelter center, on a Superfund site, or in or on a critical infrastructure facility.
The statutory scheme specifically provides for certain defenses. Those defenses are related to the actor at the time of entering the property was a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel. A statutory defense also arises if the person was an employee or agent of an electric utility, a telecommunications provider, cable service provider, or video service provider.
A statutory defense also applies to employes of any municipally owned utility such as a gas utility or an electric cooperative when the person was employed by or acting as agent for an entity that had, or that the person reasonably believed had, effective consent or authorization provided by law to enter the property; and was performing a duty within the scope of that employment or agency.
This article was last updated on Friday, December 30, 2016.
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