As a parent, you worry about the wellbeing of your children like any other parent in Texas. This also means that you have concerns about your child’s conduct and how it could impact them now and in the future. Of course, you worry that your teenager may be compelled to certain behaviors that could present legal problems. Thus, when your teen is accused of criminal trespass, you seek to not only understand these allegations but also invoke a criminal defense against them.

What is criminal trespass?

While some may confuse criminal trespass with burglary, in the state of Texas, these are two completely different crimes with distinct elements. However, there are some overlaps when it comes to the elements that make up these crimes. For starters, for a burglary to take place, the accused must have the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault once he or she has unlawfully entered the property of another. Thus, even if these acts are not done or completed, if one intended to do so, he or she could be faced with a burglary charge.

Criminal trespass has two elements. The first is entering or remaining on the property of another without their consent. The second element is after noticing that the entry on the property was forbidden or notice to leave was received, the accused failed to not enter the property or leave the property.

A criminal trespass charge goes beyond the unlawful entry of a person’s home. It could include residential land, agriculture land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, aircraft or other type of vehicle. So long as consent was not given to a enter the property and notice that entry was forbidden or an individual received notice to depart and failed to do so, a criminal trespass charge could result.

Penalties for criminal trespass

Depending on the details of the alleged crime, one could face a misdemeanor charge ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor charge. For a Class A misdemeanor, this could mean up to a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. A Class B misdemeanor could result in 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. For a Class C misdemeanor charge, the accused could face a fine of up to $500.

When your teen or adult child is faced with a criminal trespass charge, it is important to understand the severity of the penalties associate with the crime. Being clearly informed of the situation and what criminal defense options available could help you take timely and appropriate action to reduce the impact of these allegations and secure a better future for your child.