The citizens of Texas are known for many things, and their pride is most certainly one of them. One of the many unmistakable traits of Texans is their pride in their property and their land, and the Texas Penal Code has laws that match this pride, making it a criminal offense in Texas to trespass on another’s land or other property.
This may seem like a petty offense, but the penalties for criminal trespass in Texas usually involve jail time and fines, and that’s if there are no aggravating circumstances present. An experienced property crime attorney serving Williamson County and the surrounding areas can help you fight these criminal trespass charges to defend against such penalties being applied to your record.
Williamson County Criminal Trespass Lawyer
At the very least, an offense of criminal trespass comes with fines and at most, fines and jail time. In all cases, a conviction for criminal trespass will appear on your criminal record any time you have a background check run. As a U.S. citizen, you have rights and do not merely have to accept these charges.
Criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price of Price & Twine, PLLC serving Georgetown and the surrounding areas is a firm believer in this principle. If you have been arrested on criminal trespass charges in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, Killeen, Temple, Belton, Harker Heights, or the surrounding areas, contact Price & Twine, PLLC.
Michael J. Price has over a decade of combined experience defending cases like yours and fights for justice and fairness for each of his clients. To find out what Price & Twine, PLLC can do for your criminal trespass case in the Georgetown area, call (512) 354-1880 today to schedule your free case consultation.
Criminal Trespass in Texas and Penalties
What constitutes criminal trespass in Texas is defined in Section § 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code. According to this statute, it is illegal to enter or remain on a property, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, an aircraft, or a vehicle of any kind without consent when that person had notice that entry into the property was forbidden or received notice that he or she should depart and then failed to comply. This law generally does not apply to peace officers, law enforcement officials, or other kinds of employees (such as meter readers) that are entering the property to perform a job duty.
Criminal trespassing in Texas is a misdemeanor offense, though the classification of the offense depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. Generally, criminal trespassing is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with up to $2,000 in fines and/or 180 days of jail time or probation. If the offense occurs on agricultural land within 100 feet of its boundaries or on residential land within 100 feet of a protected freshwater area, it is reduced to a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.
An upgrade to a Class A misdemeanor will occur if the criminal trespassing offense is committed in a habitation, shelter center, Superfund site, or critical infrastructure facility, or if the offender was carrying a deadly weapon at the time of the criminal trespassing. In Texas, a Class A misdemeanor offense of criminal trespassing is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. For a better understanding of what some of the terms related to criminal trespassing in Texas mean, reference the list of definitions in the last section of this page; or, contact an experienced Williamson County property crime defense attorney to being your Georgetown area criminal trespassing defense strategy immediately.
Criminal Trespass by CHL Holder and Penalties
Being a concealed handgun license (CHL) holder in Texas gives you many responsibilities, and making sure you’re not exercising your concealed carry privilege in prohibited areas is one of them. Texas law has a special criminal trespass offense specifically for this purpose. Texas Penal Code Section § 30.06 defines criminal trespass by a holder of a CHL as any license holder who is carrying a concealed handgun on the property of another person without effective consent, and received notice that entering the property by a CHL holder was forbidden or remaining on the property with a concealed gun was forbidden, after which he or she failed to depart.
Notice, which is more specifically defined in the next section, can be given either by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner. An exception to this law is any property that is owned or leased by a government entity and CHL carry is not excluded by statute. An offense of criminal trespass by a CHL holder is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year of jail time or probation and/or a $4,000 fine. An experienced Georgetown criminal lawyer can help you try to avoid these penalties by working to protect your rights and fighting against the charges during the Texas court process.
Definition of Important Texas Criminal Trespass Legal Terms
Agricultural Land – any Texas land deemed suitable for use in production of plants, fruits, forestry, or domestic and/or native farm animals for industrial, commercial, or personal consumption or profit.
Building – any enclosed structure intended for use of habitation, trade purposes, manufacturing purposes, ornamentation purposes, or other form of use
Critical Infrastructure Facility – any chemical manufacturing facility, refinery, electrical power generating facility, electrical substation, electrical switching station, electrical control center, electrical transmission facility, electrical distribution facility, water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plan, water pump station, natural gas transmission compressor station, liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility, telecommunications central switching office, port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal, freight transportation facility, gas processing plant, or federally-licensed radio or T.V. station transmission station surrounded by a fence or other physical barrier designed to discourage intruders.
Entry – The intrusion of the entire body
Forest Land – any land on which trees are potentially valuable for timber products
Habitation – a structure or vehicle adapted for overnight accommodation of people. Definition includes each individual portion of the structure or vehicle, whether connected or separately secured
License Holder – a person officially licensed to carry a handgun under the License to Carry a Concealed Handgun laws in Subchapter H, Chapter 411 of the Government Code
Notice – includes oral or written communication by the owner or authorized party, fencing or other form of enclosure with the clear purpose of keeping things or persons out or in, one or more signs at the entrance of the property that is reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, qualifying purple paint marks for identifying property lines, and the visible presence of crops being cultivated, harvested, or marketed for human consumption
Protected freshwater area – any portion of the bed, bottom, or bank of a navigable river or stream that lies at or below the gradient boundary, which is the median point between the edge of the riverbed on the bank and the lowest level of the water on the bank but does not include the bed, bottom, or bank which is below tidewater limit
Recognized state – another state that has entered into an attorney general and governor-approved agreement with Texas after Texas determined that state has peace officer firearm proficiency requirements and fully recognizes the right of Texas peace officers to carry weapons in that state
Recreational vehicle park – a tract of land that has rental spaces for two or more vehicles primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreational camping or travel use, such as a travel trailer, camping trailer, or motor home
Residential land – any real property improved by a habitation and zoned or otherwise authorized for single-family or multifamily use
Shelter Center – any program that provides comprehensive residential and nonresidential services to victims of family violence that is operated by a public or private nonprofit organization
Superfund Site – any facility on the National Priorities List for the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act or listed on the state registry in Section 361.181 of the Health and Safety Code.
Vehicle – any device that propels, moves, or draws in transportation or commerce persons or property, except when that device is classified as a habitation
Written Communication – A card, sign, or other documentation which indicates it is unlawful for a person with a concealed handgun license to enter the property with a concealed handgun. If the communication is a sign, it must be in Spanish and English, in contrasting colors with 1-inch block letters, and displayed in a manner clearly visible to the general public.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Criminal Trespass Defense Attorney in Georgetown
If you have been charged with criminal trespass or the related offense of criminal trespass by a CHL holder in Williamson County or Bell County, contact experienced Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price.
Price & Twine, PLLC will fight to keep your rights protected while working towards the favorable outcome you desire. Your first consultation with Price & Twine, PLLC is free, so call (512) 354-1880 today to schedule yours.