Trespassing in Florida

If accused of Trespass in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Trespass

There are four categories of Trespass crimes in Florida:

  1. Trespass on Property
  2. Trespass on School Grounds
  3. Trespass in a Structure
  4. Trespass in a Conveyance

Definition of Trespass

Each category of Trespass can be committed in one of two ways:

  1. Willfully entering or remaining on some form of real property without authorization, license, or invitation; or
  2. Returning to or ignoring a prior request to stay off real property.

Penalties for Trespass

The penalties for the crime of Trespass depend on which type of Trespass you are charged with:

  1. Trespass on Property
  2. Trespass on School Grounds
  3. Trespass in a Structure
  4. Trespass in a Conveyance

Defenses to Trespass

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, some specific defenses to the crime of Trespass include:

Consent

Consent to enter is not an element of Trespass, but is an affirmative defense to the crime. A defendant has the burden to offer evidence of consent. But once evidence of consent is presented, the prosecutor must disprove the consent to enter beyond a reasonable doubt. [1]

Consent is usually raised when there are multiple people who exercise authority over the property, one of whom gave consent to enter or use it to a defendant. Under such circumstance a defendant cannot be convicted of burglary just because the other people were unaware that authorization was given.

Open to the Public

If an establishment is "open to the public" a person by definition has consensually entered a business, no matter what the subjective intentions for entering were. As a result, the right to "remain inside" is implied unless the State has proof that the implied consent to "remain inside" was withdrawn. So if a defendant commits a crime inside (such as theft or robbery) the defendant cannot also be convicted of Trespass. [2]

Off Limits or Employee Only Area

The "Open to the Public" defense does not apply to an off limits or employee only area of a business and a Trespass conviction will be upheld if such an area is entered. [3]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Burglary in Orlando or the Central Florida area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. D.R. v. State, 734 So. 2d 455 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999)
  2. Miller v. State, 713 So. 2d 1008 (Fla. 1998)
  3. Thomas v. State, 742 So. 2d 326 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999)