Criminal Trespass2018-08-13T01:49:07+00:00

What is Criminal Trespass in Arizona?

Whether it’s Scottsdale, Phoenix, or another part of Arizona, Criminal Trespass is a charge defined by three different statutes under the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS).

These three statutes (ARS 13-1502, 13-1503, and 13-1504) are differentiated by their “degree” classification.

Depending on the specific details of your case, the classification of these charges can be a Class Three (3) Misdemeanor, Class Two (2) Misdemeanor, Class One (1) Misdemeanor, or in certain situations, a Class Six (6) or Class Five (5) Felony.

These statutes are grouped together under Title 13, Chapter 15 – Criminal Trespass and Burglary.

Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree is the most commonly charged of the three classifications.
Class 5 Felony to Class 3 Misdemeanor Scale

What is the language and what is required to be convicted of Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree?

Specifically, the statute states:

A. A person commits criminal trespass in the third degree by:

  1. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by a law enforcement officer, the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry.
  2. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company.

B. Pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section, a request to leave by a law enforcement officer acting at the request of the owner of the property or any other person having lawful control over the property has the same legal effect as a request made by the property owner or other person having lawful control of the property.”

ARS 13-1502(A)(1) is the more commonly cited charge and is used quite often by law-enforcement agencies to arrest individuals in/near bars and similar establishments.

Agencies like the Scottsdale Police Department regularly look to this charge to arrest people in the Old-Town and nearby areas.

After reading the statute, you probably have questions like;

  • What is real property?
  • What is a “reasonable request?”
  • Who has lawful control over property?

To answer some of these questions, here are specific definitions for this statute from the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1501:

  • “Enter or remain unlawfully” means an act of a person who enters or remains on premises when the person’s intent for so entering or remaining is not licensed, authorized or otherwise privileged except when the entry is to commit theft of merchandise displayed for sale during normal business hours, when the premises are open to the public and when the person does not enter any unauthorized areas of the premises.
  • “Entry” means the intrusion of any part of any instrument or any part of a person’s body inside the external boundaries of a structure or unit of real property.

Other factors/elements such as what is “reasonable,” when is it “knowingly,” and what is a “request” will be defined by the particular allegation in your case and defined by case-specific argument and case precedent.

Subsection Two (2) of this statute (ARS 13-1502A2) for remaining unlawfully on “the right-of-way for tracks, or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company” is generally used to cite the vagrant community.

Penalties Specific to ARS 13-1502:

It is a Class 3 Misdemeanor and a conviction can carry a maximum penalty of up to 30 days of jail, a fine of up to $500 plus surcharges, up to 1 year of probation.

If found (or you plead) guilty, however, the sentence is usually no where near the maximums.

The severity of the offense and contributing circumstances (and allegation) are what will shape the State’s recommended sentence and the judge’s final imposition.

What is the language and what is required to be convicted of Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree?

Specifically, the statute states:

“A. A person commits criminal trespass in the second degree by knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on any nonresidential structure or in any fenced commercial yard.” ARS 13-1503 – Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree

Penalties Specific to ARS 13-1503:

It is a Class 2 Misdemeanor and a conviction can carry a maximum penalty of up to four (4) months of jail, a fine of up to $750 plus surcharges, and possibly probation.

If found (or you plead) guilty, however, the sentence is usually no where near the maximums.

The severity of the offense and contributing circumstances (and allegation) are what will shape the State’s recommended sentence and the judge’s final imposition.

What is the language and what is required to be convicted of Criminal Trespass in the First Degree?

Specifically, the statute states:

“A. A person commits criminal trespass in the first degree by knowingly:

  1. Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure.
  2. Entering or remaining unlawfully in a fenced residential yard.
  3. Entering any residential yard and, without lawful authority, looking into the residential structure thereon in reckless disregard of infringing on the inhabitant’s right of privacy.
  4. Entering unlawfully on real property that is subject to a valid mineral claim or lease with the intent to hold, work, take or explore for minerals on the claim or lease.
  5. Entering or remaining unlawfully on the property of another and burning, defacing, mutilating or otherwise desecrating a religious symbol or other religious property of another without the express permission of the owner of the property.
  6. Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a critical public service facility.”

Penalties Specific to ARS 13-1504:

Depending on the circumstances a First Degree conviction that can be classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, class 6 felony, or class 5 felony.

The penalties for these classification can range from probation and zero (0) days of jail up to 5.75 years of prison depending on prior convictions and the particularities of your conviction.

What are my Defenses for a Criminal Trespassing Charge?

The defenses for a Criminal Trespass charge will depend on the particularities of the allegation in your case.

As you can see, these three statutes cover a wide range of trespass conditions; some require a personal knowledge of what you are trespassing, some require the trespass location to be a specific business or residence, while other situations may require your intent (i.e. intent to remain at the location).

Given these factors, things like witness testimony, video surveillance, officer body cameras, conflicting officer testimony, etc. will be extremely helpful. This is why we initially cast a wide net to collect any and all available information.

Once we receive and review everything available to us, we use it (along with your mitigation information) to build the strongest case possible.

Quite often, the information that is the basis for a criminal trespass charge comes from a third party witness (i.e. bar staff).

The way this information is relayed to an officer is what should help them decide if there should be a charge/citation.

Unfortunately, officers will too often get in the habit of not conducting their own thorough investigation and simply take the other person’s’ word as fact.

This leaves those accused of this charge with little to no information to defend themselves against the allegation.

Factors such as inebriation can even further cause officers to discredit or ignore information that should be taken into account before charging.

Our job is to bring that missed part of the investigation to light and prove your innocence.

I’ve  been charged with Criminal Trespass and want to speak with a Lawyer.

We can help! Our defense team practices exclusively in criminal defense and we do not take cases from any other field of law (family, business, personal injury).

We have helped hundreds of people charged with crimes like criminal trespass successfully resolve their case, protect their record and fight for a winning outcome.

Hiring our office means it is very unlikely that you will not have to attend court for the majority of the case. We may need you to be present one time at the end. Otherwise, our team handles all of the preliminary hearings on your behalf and we keep you apprised of all developments along the way.

Contact our office at (480) 400-1355 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with our team.