Most people in Key West know that it’s unlawful to enter or continue staying in someone’s property when you are not permitted to. However, not many locals understand the implications of violating the trespass laws.
By definition, trespass denotes the act of knowingly entering another person’s property without his or her permission. Such actions are held to infringe upon the rights of the owner of the property to enjoy the benefits of ownership.
Some think that because they don’t express intent of harm like carrying a dangerous weapon, the trespass offense is not that serious. Well, inasmuch as this may be true, it doesn’t disqualify the possibility of facing a jail term. The owner can file criminal charges against you and all you can do is talk to several Key West lawyers to see who can defend you.
What Can the Property Owner Accuse You Of?
In Key West, the law recognizes two major types of criminal trespasses:
• Trespass in Structure or Conveyance: A structure refers to a building, mostly private, while a conveyance refers to a transport mode like a car, a boat, an aircraft or a trailer. If you either enter unpermitted or continue staying on the structure or the conveyance after your access has been rescinded, you are subject to this type of criminal trespass.
• Trespass on Property Other than Structure or Conveyance: This applies to properties that are neither a structure nor a conveyance. If for example, you trespass someone’s farmland, then you are subject to this type of trespass.
What Are the Possible Penalties?
Depending on the reason for trespassing, the offense carries different penalties. They include probations, jail terms, and long-term criminal records. A typical misdemeanor, for instance, has a 60-day jail penalty. Nonetheless, if you are found in possession of a firearm during the trespass, the offense is treated as a third-degree felony. Its penalty is up to 5 years in prison.
How You Can Mount a Legal Defense?
Most Key West lawyers will ask you to argue the following:
• You were never present on the property
• The property owner either implied or expressed consent
• You were not notified to leave the property
• You had a genuine reason to stay on the property
The law on criminal trespass is very clear in Key West. Since you now know what criminal trespass is and the penalties involved, you can be able to keep off from violating the law. In case you do, then you can argue your defense using the discussed basics.