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Trespass

Trespass is a very frequent misdemeanor arrest and is usually accompanied by other charges such as disorderly intoxication, disturbing the peace, or resisting without violence. Although almost always prosecuted only as a misdemeanor offense, Section 810, Florida Statutes does provide several circumstances that will allow for a trespass arrest to be charged as a felony. Trespass arrests in Jacksonville, Orange Park, and St. Augustine typically result from when parties get out of hand and guests refuse to leave, patrons reluctantly leave a bar when asked, or when unwelcomed consumers refuse to leave the store grounds. Arrests for trespassing on school grounds are probably the most common charge for teenagers, especially at the beginning and the end of the school year.

Trespass charges also become "add-on" charges after arrest for other law violations that are placed on a defendant. These charges are often abandoned or dropped by the State Attorney after the arrest, depending on the outcome of the other charged offense. Nonetheless, trespass charges are easy to prove and could result in jail time without the proper negotiations. Every charge, no matter how minor in the grand scheme of things, should be handled by competent, experienced criminal defense lawyers.

If you have been arrested under Florida's Trespass statute, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Arnold Law Firm. We have handled literally thousands of trespass cases in our combined 25 years of criminal law experience. We accept trespass cases throughout Florida, including a Jacksonville, St. John's, Clay, and Nassau county trespass arrest. Call us today to discuss your case if you have been arrested for trespass.

FLORIDA'S TRESPASS LAWS

810.08 Trespass in structure or conveyance.--

(1) Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, trespass in a structure or conveyance is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) If there is a human being in the structure or conveyance at the time the offender trespassed, attempted to trespass, or was in the structure or conveyance, the trespass in a structure or conveyance is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.f

(c) If the offender is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or arms himself or herself with such while in the structure or conveyance, the trespass in a structure or conveyance is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Any owner or person authorized by the owner may, for prosecution purposes, take into custody and detain, in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable length of time, any person when he or she reasonably believes that a violation of this paragraph has been or is being committed, and he or she reasonably believes that the person to be taken into custody and detained has committed or is committing such violation. In the event a person is taken into custody, a law enforcement officer shall be called as soon as is practicable after the person has been taken into custody. The taking into custody and detention by such person, if done in compliance with the requirements of this paragraph, shall not render such person criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

(3) As used in this section, the term "person authorized" means any owner or lessee, or his or her agent, or any law enforcement officer whose department has received written authorization from the owner or lessee, or his or her agent, to communicate an order to depart the property in the case of a threat to public safety or welfare.

History.--s. 34, ch. 74-383; s. 22, ch. 75-298; s. 2, ch. 76-46; s. 1, ch. 77-132; s. 33, ch. 88-381; s. 185, ch. 91-224; s. 1233, ch. 97-102; s. 4, ch. 2000-369.

810.09 Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance.

1)(a) A person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance:

1. As to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing, or cultivation as described in s. 810.011; or

2. If the property is the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling and the offender enters or remains with the intent to commit an offense thereon, other than the offense of trespass, commits the offense of trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance.

(b) As used in this section, the term "unenclosed curtilage" means the unenclosed land or grounds, and any outbuildings, that are directly and intimately adjacent to and connected with the dwelling and necessary, convenient, and habitually used in connection with that dwelling.

(2)(a) Except as provided in this subsection, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) If the offender defies an order to leave, personally communicated to the offender by the owner of the premises or by an authorized person, or if the offender willfully opens any door, fence, or gate or does any act that exposes animals, crops, or other property to waste, destruction, or freedom; unlawfully dumps litter on property; or trespasses on property other than a structure or conveyance, the offender commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(c) If the offender is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the commission of the offense of trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance, he or she is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Any owner or person authorized by the owner may, for prosecution purposes, take into custody and detain, in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable length of time, any person when he or she reasonably believes that a violation of this paragraph has been or is being committed, and that the person to be taken into custody and detained has committed or is committing the violation. If a person is taken into custody, a law enforcement officer shall be called as soon as is practicable after the person has been taken into custody. The taking into custody and detention in compliance with the requirements of this paragraph does not result in criminal or civil liability for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

(d) The offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property trespassed is a construction site that is:

1. Greater than 1 acre in area and is legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY."; or

2. One acre or less in area and is identified as such with a sign that appears prominently, in letters of not less than 2 inches in height, and reads in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY." The sign shall be placed at the location on the property where the permits for construction are located. For construction sites of 1 acre or less as provided in this subparagraph, it shall not be necessary to give notice by posting as defined in s. 810.011(5).

(e) The offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property trespassed upon is commercial horticulture property and the property is legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS DESIGNATED COMMERCIAL PROPERTY FOR HORTICULTURE PRODUCTS, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY."

(f) The offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property trespassed upon is an agricultural site for testing or research purposes that is legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED AGRICULTURAL SITE FOR TESTING OR RESEARCH PURPOSES, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY."

(g) The offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property trespassed upon is a domestic violence center certified under s. 39.905 which is legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED RESTRICTED SITE AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY."

(h) Any person who in taking or attempting to take any animal described in s. 379.101(19) or (20), or in killing, attempting to kill, or endangering any animal described in s. 585.01(13) knowingly propels or causes to be propelled any potentially lethal projectile over or across private land without authorization commits trespass, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "potentially lethal projectile" includes any projectile launched from any firearm, bow, crossbow, or similar tensile device. This section does not apply to any governmental agent or employee acting within the scope of his or her official duties.

(i) The offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property trespassed upon is an agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility that is legally posted and identified in substantially the following manner: "THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS MANUFACTURING FACILITY, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY."

(3) As used in this section, the term "authorized person" or "person authorized" means any owner, his or her agent, or a community association authorized as an agent for the owner, or any law enforcement officer whose department has received written authorization from the owner, his or her agent, or a community association authorized as an agent for the owner, to communicate an order to leave the property in the case of a threat to public safety or welfare.

History.--s. 35, ch. 74-383; s. 22, ch. 75-298; s. 3, ch. 76-46; s. 2, ch. 80-389; s. 34, ch. 88-381; s. 186, ch. 91-224; s. 2, ch. 94-263; s. 2, ch. 94-307; s. 48, ch. 96-388; s. 1818, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 97-201; s. 5, ch. 2000-369; s. 2, ch. 2001-182; s. 47, ch. 2001-279; s. 36, ch. 2002-46; s. 14, ch. 2006-289; s. 1, ch. 2006-295; s. 2, ch. 2007-123; s. 205, ch. 2008-247.

810.095 Trespass on school property with firearm or other weapon prohibited.

(1) It is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, for a person who is trespassing upon school property to bring onto, or to possess on, such school property any weapon as defined in s. 790.001(13) or any firearm.

(2) As used in this section, "school property" means the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic.

History.--s. 1, ch. 92-130; s. 62, ch. 2004-357; s. 3, ch. 2006-186.

810.097 Trespass upon grounds or facilities of a school; penalties; arrest.

(1) Any person who:

(a) Does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property; or

(b) Is a student currently under suspension or expulsion; and who enters or remains upon the campus or any other facility owned by any such school commits a trespass upon the grounds of a school facility and is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) Any person who enters or remains upon the campus or other facility of a school after the principal of such school, or his or her designee, has directed such person to leave such campus or facility or not to enter upon the campus or facility, commits a trespass upon the grounds of a school facility and is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(3) The chief administrative officer of a school, or any employee thereof designated by the chief administrative officer to maintain order on such campus or facility, who has probable cause to believe that a person is trespassing upon school grounds in violation of this section may take such person into custody and detain him or her in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time pending arrival of a law enforcement officer. Such taking into custody and detention by an authorized person does not render that person criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention. If a trespasser is taken into custody, a law enforcement officer shall be called to the scene immediately after the person is taken into custody.

(4) Any law enforcement officer may arrest either on or off the premises and without warrant any person the officer has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of trespass upon the grounds of a school facility. Such arrest shall not render the law enforcement officer criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

(5) As used in this section, the term "school" means the grounds or any facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, or secondary school, whether public or nonpublic.

History.--s. 1, ch. 68-3; s. 1, ch. 72-10; s. 1, ch. 72-221; s. 1, ch. 77-425; s. 48, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 82-3; s. 27, ch. 91-224; s. 1207, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 99-147.

Note.--Former s. 228.21; s. 228.091.

810.0975 School safety zones; definition; trespass prohibited; penalty.

1) For the purposes of this section, the term "school safety zone" means in, on, or within 500 feet of any real property owned by or leased to any public or private elementary, middle, or high school or school board and used for elementary, middle, or high school education.

(2)(a) Each principal or designee of each public or private school in this state shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to prohibit any person from loitering in the school safety zone who does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, or license to enter or remain in the school safety zone or does not otherwise have invitee status in the designated safety zone.

(b) During the period from 1 hour prior to the start of a school session until 1 hour after the conclusion of a school session, it is unlawful for any person to enter the premises or trespass within a school safety zone or to remain on such premises or within such school safety zone when that person does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain in the school safety zone. Any person who violates this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(c) Any person who does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain in the school safety zone who shall willfully fail to remove himself or herself from the school safety zone after the principal or designee, having a reasonable belief that he or she will commit a crime or is engaged in harassment or intimidation of students entering or leaving school property, requests him or her to leave the school safety zone commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Nothing in this section shall be construed to abridge or infringe upon the right of any person to peaceably assemble and protest.

(3) This section does not apply to residents or persons engaged in the operation of a licensed commercial business within the school safety zone.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2002-192.

Updated on September 1, 2009 from http://www.flsenate.gov/.

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