In the Phoenix area or anywhere else in the state of Arizona, as per A.R.S. §13-1502, §13-1503 and §13-1504, the crime of Trespass generally occurs when an individual knowingly steps onto or into a property after being told to leave. It can also occur when they do not have permission to enter or remain on the premises by the owner or when there is a sign warning against trespassing.
There are varying degrees of this criminal activity. Per A.R.S. §13-1504, first degree criminal Trespass is when a person enters or stays on a residential structure or fenced in residential yard in an unlawful manner while looking into that structure without regard of the privacy of the individuals inside. Another means of the crime in the first degree can occur if an individual is on a property without claim to work, take hold of or investigate minerals on the property. In addition, first degree criminal Trespass occurs when a person is found going into or staying in a public service facility in an unlawful manner or damaging property while on a property, such as defacing a religious symbol. First degree trespass can be either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity of the offense.
Second degree criminal Trespass, per A.R.S. §13-1503, occurs when an individual unlawfully enters or stays on a non-residential building or commercial yard that is fenced in. Third degree criminal Trespass, per A.R.S. §13-1502, occurs after a person has been told by the owner of a property or another individual who has control over it to leave but they refuse to. Third degree criminal Trespass can also occur when a person has violated a sign warning trespassers. An example is someone who stands unlawfully on the train tracks or railroad company property and preventing a train from moving forth. Second and Third degree Trespass are considered misdemeanors by the State of Arizona.
Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in Arizona
The penalty for criminal trespass in Arizona varies depending on the charge. When someone is found to be in the first degree, it is considered a class six felony and can involve unlawful entering or remaining in a residential building or critical public service facility or religious artifact defacing. As a result of this offense, an individual can receive probation as well as zero days to one year jail time, or prison time lasting four months to two years. If the individual has one prior felony conviction, the punishment is “prison only” that can last nine months to two and two and three quarter years. With two previous felony convictions, the individual can see two and one quarter to five and three quarters of prison time.
If the offense involves an individual entering or staying on a fenced in property and looking in on others or illegally mining in the area, it is considered a class one misdemeanor. Punishment for a class one misdemeanor can be probation with zero days to six months of jail time and a fine of as much as $2,500 with a surcharge of 84 percent. In the case of second degree criminal Trespass, it is a class two misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of probation, up to four months of time in jail and a fine of $750 with an 80 percent surcharge. When the individual is charged with a third degree crime, it is a class three misdemeanor, which has a punishment of probation and up to 30 days in jail. Additionally, there can be a fine that includes a surcharge of 80 percent.
Defenses for Criminal Trespassing in Arizona
There are a few possible defenses for trespassing. In general, however, the key is for a criminal defense lawyer to prove that the defendant did not intend to commit the crime. In other words, the attorney must prove that the individual did not realize they could not be on or remain on the property. Another possible defense is that the individual who asked the defendant to leave did not have the authority to do so. The criminal defense attorney will have to bring evidence forth about their client’s good character and that the individual who asked them to leave has the habit of overreacting.
Other possible defenses for Trespass include violation of Miranda rights, which, in Arizona, means the individual was not informed of their rights when being arrested. There is also the denial of right to counsel defense that means the defendant was not allowed to speak with a lawyer after being taken into custody. There is also the possibility of proving forensic flaws.
Trespassing charges in Arizona are a criminal matter, you will need the skills of an excellent criminal defense lawyer. David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and our law firm is AV® rated with the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®. For a free case review, please give our offices a call, 24 hours a day at (602) 737-2812 or use our confidential email form.