What Do You Mean By Trespassing in Texas?
Under Section 30.05 of Texas Penal Code, trespassing is considered to be a criminal offense when;
- an individual enters other's property unlawfully,
- without the consent of the other person; and
- ignoring the notice for trespass
What Do You Mean By the term 'Notice'?
An oral or written communication by the owner or someone authorized to act on behalf of the owner can be termed as notice. However, notice can materialize in the following circumstances:
- the possessed asset is secured with fence or barrier or railing so as to avoid entry of any intruder or for private use; or
- notice in the form of signboard stating that this property belongs to the owner or company and any kind of encroachment is strictly forbidden; or
- notices which include written communication in purple paint on a tree or a wall regarding the property belonging to the owner; or
- using the land for agricultural purpose for personal use or for sale of the output.
What Are The Punishments And Penalties for Trespassing
Criminal trespassing is considered to Class B felony in Texas. In case you are found guilty of trespassing, you will be awarded imprisonment up to 6 months and a penalty of $ 2000. However, penalties and punishments of trespassing might vary in case the offender has used the property for residential, business or private purpose.
The charges of the trespassing will be uplifted to Class A misdemeanor in case the individual threatens the owner of the property with a weapon. So Class A felony criminal charges will include imprisonment up to 12 months and penalty up to $4000. However, trespassing in the residential place or critical infrastructural site also amounts to Class A criminal offense. Critical infrastructure site or plant includes the following:
- A chemical factory
- A refinery;
- Unit belonging to the electrical department, electrical control room or electrical transmission or distribution center
- The structure belonging to water storage or sewage water treatment plant
- Biogas or natural gas supply plant
- Unit relating to liquid gas which includes sub-units processing, treatment or supply plant
- Communications center
- A harbor, unit connecting to a railway station or bus stand or freight or other transport facilities.
- A unit meant for licensed radio or television station.
Therefore, a conviction for trespassing will be applicable when the prosecutor proves the defendant guilty in a case
- he entered the other individuals' property without the person's consent or prior intimation
- he failed to notice the signboard for trespassing
- Ignored the notice received and knowingly stayed on the property
Defense Available For Criminal Trespass
The statutory laws of Texas allow an individual to defend himself in certain circumstances. For instance, defense in terms of emergency services or the individual belongs to the electric department, telecommunications, cable service agencies, or video service provider, medical services, etc. Therefore, the individual has to prove that his intention was to render service and not on an employment basis.
In case you are held guilty of Trespassing in Texas do consider to hire an experienced lawyer. Moreover, do not disclose any information before the police officials as soon as you are arrested and request for a defense lawyer immediately. The criminal defense lawyer will be able to explain the pros and cons of your case. There are many expert attorneys available in and around Texas who will analyze your case. Moreover, he will produce certain evidence and facts to prove you innocent and will enable you to walk you free from trespassing charges.
Many people consider burglary and trespassing the same concept. But the main difference between trespassing and burglary is the intention or purpose. Therefore, the charges will be based on circumstantial evidence and witness statement.