Legal Dictionary

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Criminal Trespass

In general, trespass refers to any wrongful interference with someone's property or person. Criminal trespass is often defined as “unwanted intrusion” onto someone's property or land. California law defines criminal trespass as unlawful intrusion onto someone's property or unlawful interference with someone's property. California trespass laws are contained in Penal Code section 602 and cover diverse activities including property entry, taking or destroying property, and refusing to leave private property after you have been asked to leave.

California prosecutors can charge criminal trespass as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. Most criminal trespass violations in California are prosecuted as misdemeanors; only seldom is the offense charged as a felony. Most misdemeanor criminal trespass violations carry a maximum of six months in county jail along with a $1000 fine. However, certain violations will raise the county jail exposure to one year. There are several legal defenses available for a criminal trespass charge. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who, depending on the circumstances of your case, may be able to get the charge reduced to an infraction or dismissed.