The State of Texas takes property rights very seriously. If you are arrested for trespassing, you could face very serious penalties. This is not to mention that Texas also gives property owners the right to use deadly force to protect their property, so trespassing is already a very dangerous activity. Sadly, many people trespass without even realizing it. There are a number of complex laws and regulations that apply to land use in Texas. To better understand trespassing laws in Texas, consider the following.
What is trespassing in Texas?
In Texas, “criminal trespass” occurs when you enter someone else’s property without their permission. In order to be guilty of the offense, there are some additional prerequisites:
- You must have acted intentionally
- There must have been some notice posted or you were asked to leave
- You must be physically present on the property
What constitutes another’s property?
Property does not have to be land, though it can be. It can also be:
- Residential property
- A home or apartment
- A business
- Government property
- Any vehicle
What is notice, and how does it work?
There are generally several forms of notice or warnings that can be given. Failure to adhere to any of them can be considered trespassing:
- A written communication by the property owner or manager
- A fence or barrier designed to keep people out
- Signs on the entrance or near a building
Additionally, once a property owner or manager has asked you to leave, this is considered effective notice.
Penalties for Criminal Trespass
Under Section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code, criminal trespass will typically be considered a Class B misdemeanor. The penalty for such a crime can be up to $2,000 in fines and up 180 days (6 months) in jail. Any act of trespass with a weapon or in a habitation will be a Class A misdemeanor. That can carry double the fines ($4,000) and include up to a year in jail.
How Trespass Charges Happen
The majority of urban trespass claims occur for simple reasons that often can be explained through mistake or misunderstanding. In rural areas, hunters, fishermen, and other sportsmen frequently get arrested for being in the wrong place without even realizing it Sadly, since most outdoorsmen in Texas are also carrying a lawfully owned weapon, they may incidentally get swept up in a Class A misdemeanor offense without even meaning to do anything wrong.
Get Legal Help Today
At Abrams Trial Law. we aggressively defend our clients and look for ways to help avoid unnecessary jail time, fines, and an unfair and needless criminal record. If it’s your first offense, there’s a good chance with strong legal assistance, you may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed in some cases. Contact us today to request a free consultation.