Aggravated Trespass

Long Beach Criminal Lawyer prides itself in its dedication to helping people with criminal charges. We represent various criminal cases since we know the value of an experienced and qualified lawyer during such matters. Our focus is on giving people client-centered care. What this kind of care entails is that our lawyers will work together with our clients to not only identify the goals we have for their case but also to find the best ways to achieve these goals. The amount of attention to each individual’s case is indicative of Long Beach Criminal Lawyer’s dedication to defending criminal law cases in Southern California. One of the areas of criminal law that Long Beach Criminal Lawyer defends is that of aggravated trespass.

What Counts as Aggravated Trespass?

According to California Penal Code 610, the law outlines just what can constitute as aggravated trespass. Also known as felony trespass, aggravated trespass is when one trespasses onto another’s property after threatening someone’s physical safety within thirty days after making the threats. The elements of aggravated trespass include someone making a threat that is both credible and potentially harmful to one’s well-being, this threat was made with the intent to cause fear for oneself and one’s family, and that within the thirty-day limit, the person who is responsible for the threat illegally trespasses onto property that is not theirs with the intent to carry out the threats they made.

Example: Jacqueline dates Harvey for two years before breaking up with him. Harvey, not wanting to break up, threatens her that she’ll be sorry for trying to break up. Two weeks later, Harvey is caught breaking into her house and physically harming her. In this case, Harvey is guilty of aggravated trespass.

What Makes a Threat Credible?

For a threat to be counted as credible, the person on the receiving end of the threats must have a legitimate reason to be afraid for themselves or their family. Such threats can be spoken, written, implied by actions, or communicated electronically. Sometimes, the threat can be a combination of both implicating actions and speaking, writing, or electronic communications.

What Counts as a Threat?

For something to count as a threat in cases of aggravated trespass, one must have the intent to physically inflict bodily harm on someone else. This intent translates to inflicting serious bodily injuries that severely impair the person’s body and physical condition. Some examples of these injuries are serious disfigurement, a wound that requires stitches or sutures, the impairment or loss of any internal and external body parts, bone fracture, concussion, and loss of consciousness.

Penalties for Aggravated Trespass

Because California’s law places aggravated trespass as a wobbler despite its alternate name of felony trespass, one can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecution will decide on whether to charge someone with a misdemeanor or a felony based off of the exact allegations presented against the defendant as well as the defendant’s previous criminal record. Should the charge be a misdemeanor, the penalty is a fine of no more than two thousand dollars, a year spent in the county jail, or both. However, if the charge is deemed to be a felony, the severity increases. For a felony, the defendant will spend from sixteen months to three years in the county jail, a fine of no more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

Legal Defense Against Charges of Aggravated Trespass

In order to avoid a charge of aggravated trespass with high consequences such as time in jail and hefty fines, there is a variety of ways for the defendants’ lawyers to combat against these charges. One of them is proving that the actual threat made is not credible. One can argue that if the victim has no legitimate reason to afraid or if the threat was not recorded by any means, the threat is not credible and the defendant cannot be charged with aggravated trespass. Another common but similar defense is that the defendant did not intend to cause the victim to fear for the state of their well-being. For instance, if the defendant made the threat in jest rather than seriousness, they could avoid being charged with aggravated trespass. A third defense is when one illegally trespasses onto the victim’s property but does not have the intent to make their threats physically manifest. Another line of defense is when the defendant was unaware they were trespassing onto the victim’s property.

What Doesn’t Count as Aggravated Trespass

In California, one cannot commit aggravated trespass if the threat-making person enters their own personal properties, residences, and places where they work even if the person they threaten frequent or also live on these premises. One also cannot commit aggravated trespass if they are a part of labor union activities with either the National Labor Relations Act or the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

Example: Pauline and Damien live together in their apartment. They have a fight where Damien makes serious, harmful threats before he runs out of the apartment. When he tries coming back inside, Pauline locks the door because she is afraid. When Damien breaks down the door to get inside, he is not guilty of aggravated trespass because the apartment is technically his residence.

Connected Charges to Aggravated Trespass

Because of the aspect of trespassing, fear, and threats involved in aggravated trespass, some related charges that are often connected aggravated trespass can also be incurred. Or, if the defendant is able to successfully use the above legal defenses to avoid an aggravated trespass conviction, they could receive any of these other related charges based on the specifics of their case. These related charges include stalking, domestic violence, criminal threats, burglary, and trespass that is not aggravated.

Stalking

One such charge that is commonly connected to aggravated trespass is stalking. According to California Penal Code Section 646.9, stalking is defined as when someone follows another person to the point where the other person feels harassed and threatened to the point where they feel like their safety and that of their family and loved ones is compromised. Since California is known for its strict laws against stalking, the legal penalties for this charge are quite severe. Given that it is also a wobbler case, stalking can be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, the defendant will be charged with spending time in the county jail for no more than a year, a fine that does not exceed the amount of a thousand dollars, or both the jail time and the fine. When charged as a felony, the consequences increase. As the penalty for stalking in California, one can receive up to five years of spending time in the state prison. In some cases, the prosecution will require the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Domestic Violence

In accordance with California Penal Code Section 273.5, domestic violence is criminalized and happens when a person willfully conducts actions of violence that lead to corporal injury and traumatic conditions towards another person who either has familial or intimate connection with the defendant. The penalties for this particular charge ranges from spending up to a year in the local county jail, being imprisoned in the state prison between two to four years, a fine of no more than six thousand dollars, or a combination of time spent in prison and a fine.

Criminal Threats

As elaborated on in California Penal Code Section 422, criminal threat is the crime of threatening people and causing them to live in fear for their physical well-being and their family’s well-being. They can be charged even if the defendant does not have the ability to execute out their threats or even if they had no real intent to carry out their threats. The charge of criminal threats is a wobbler and, therefore, can be sentenced as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant spends up to a year in the local county jail. If the crime of criminal threat is charged as a felony, the defendant has to spend up to four years in the California state prison. Additionally, the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon while issuing your threats adds another year to the defendant’s sentence.

Burglary

Burglary, according to California Penal Code Section 459 PC, is the crime of entering someone else’s property whether that be someone’s vehicle, building, or personal room through force with the intention of committing a theft or a felony. In this case, it is not mandatory for the defendant to actually commit the intended theft or felony to be convicted of burglary. Because burglary is classified into two degrees of severity and is a wobbler, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. First degree burglary, which is a residential burglary, is charged as a felony and is penalized with no less than six years in the state prison and hefty fines, as well as a criminal record. Second degree burglary, which is a commercial burglary, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the defendant's crime and actions and the defendant's criminal record.  As a misdemeanor, the defendant would spend up to a year in the county jail. If the burglary is charged as a felony, the defendant would spend between sixteen months to three years in the county jail.

Trespass

To be convicted of the crime of trespass that is addressed and covered in California Penal Code Section 602, one must enter, occupy, or remain in property that is not theirs on their own will. In order for it to be classified as trespass, one must not have the consent of the owners of the property or they must have the intention to obstruct the property or interfere with business on the property. In contrast to aggravated trespass, trespass convictions do not have the fear-inducing threat component. Unlike aggravated trespass, trespass is penalized as a misdemeanor. If the defendant is charged with the crime of trespass, their sentence is comprised of spending up to six months in the local county jail, a fine of no more than a thousand dollars, or both the time spent in the county jail and the fine.

More About California Trespass Laws

California has a specific section in the California Penal Code in Section 601 and 602 that outlines many instances of trespass and the penalties associated with them. Aggravated trespass falls under this category. Most instances of California trespass fall under the category of misdemeanors, which result in the punishment of spending a maximum of six months in the local county jail and/or a fine that does not exceed a thousand dollars. Some instances of California trespass also incur infraction charges. The penalty for infraction charges are often smaller fines than that of misdemeanors and felonies. Out of all of the California Trespass Laws, aggravated trespass is one of the only crimes where one can be charged with a felony on their record. As an alternative to prison for a charge of aggravated trespass as a felony, California offers felony probation. Felony probation has the defendant serving part of or all of their sentence doing work for the community while under supervision instead of spending time in the state prison. While on felony probation, the defendant must regularly report to their probation officer and might even have to pay victim restitution.

Contacting a Long Beach Criminal Lawyer Near Me

If, as you were reading through this article, you thought of more extensive questions or had any concerns about the specifics of aggravated trespass, what aggravated trespass entails, and its related crimes, do not hesitate to contact Long Beach Criminal Lawyer now at 562-304-5121! Here we exist to assist you in all your legal concerns whether they involve you or a loved one being involved in an aggravated trespass charge. We offer our services for consultations for free and keep them confidential. Our specialty is criminal law. So, if you are in Long Beach, Torrance, or even in Orange County and are in need of a lawyer to help you and represent you in your aggravated trespass conviction, once again, don’t hesitate to contact us now!

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