Entering other people’s property doesn’t always seem like a big deal, but in Arizona, this simple mistake could result in charges of criminal trespassing. Instead of ignoring the “No Trespassing” signs, people need to pay attention so they don’t accidentally end up needing a Phoenix criminal trespassing attorney or, worse, end up with a criminal record.
Types of Criminal Trespassing
Arizona has three classifications for trespassing: first, second, and third degree. Each is detailed in its own Arizona Revised Statute section.
First degree criminal trespassing (A.R.S 13-1504). Arizona lawmakers describe this type of trespassing as:
- Knowingly entering or staying in a residential structure unlawfully.
- Entering or staying in a fenced residential yard.
- Entering residential yard for sake of looking into residential structure, which is a violation of privacy.
- Deciding to enter a property with known mineral claim and planning to work the land and take minerals for personal use.
- Entering personal property and inflicting criminal damage such as burning, defacing, and other illegal acts.
- Knowingly entering a public services facility illegally.
Punishments for First Degree
Individuals involved in the type of trespassing explained in 1, 5, and 6 are immediately charged with a class 6 felony, which is penalized by up to eighteen months in jail and up to $150,000 in fines. Those who participate in the trespassing described in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 receive a class 1 misdemeanor, which is punished with up to six months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Second degree criminal trespassing (A.R.S. 13-1503). Trespassing in the second degree includes only one type of offense: entering or remaining on nonresidential property or within a commercial fenced yard illegally. Individuals who are guilty of this crime receive a class 2 misdemeanor with up to four months in jail and fines up to $750.
Third degree criminal trespassing (A.R.S. 13-1502). Trespassing in this classification involves two actions:
- An individual stays on someone’s property after the owner or another person in authority requested him or her to leave.
- A person enters or stays on railroad property such as tracks, storage, switching yards, and rolling stock.
Either of these actions elicits a class 3 misdemeanor, up to 30 days in jail, and fines up to $500.
Developing a Strong Defense
The smartest way to build a convincing defense against a trespassing charge is to prove the defendant didn’t hold the requisite knowledge required to classify their actions as trespassing. Defendants and trespassing lawyers can accomplish this by claiming the signs were not placed in visible areas.
Many other defenses provide persuasive arguments in favor of the defendant’s innocence. Criminal defense lawyers are trained to work every angle to obtain the desired outcome.
Hire a Professional
Criminal trespassing charges are devastating for individuals in Phoenix without an existing criminal record. Although charges can be appealed under certain Arizona Revised Statutes, the legal procedures are exhausting and confusing for someone without experience. Individuals interested in minimizing their punishments and reducing their charges need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to navigate the legal proceedings.
An existing criminal background or additional criminal charges can make trespassing a complicated web of legal actions. Having a reliable Phoenix criminal trespassing lawyer directing each step of the process leads to the most promising outcome.
The Stewart Law Group provides access to the most venerable criminal defense lawyer in the state of Arizona. To get the most dependable legal counsel in the area, contact Attorney Scott Stewart today!