Trespassing onto another person’s property without their permission is a criminal offense in California. However, not all acts of trespassing are prosecuted the same way. In fact, the court system can use the following charges to prosecute trespassing:
- California Penal Code Section 602: Trespassing.
- California Penal Code Section 601: Aggravated Trespassing.
You can focus specifically on aggravated trespassing with this article. Find out how PC 601 differs from PC 602 and go over some legal defenses for these charges with the Simmrin Law Group.
Aggravated Trespass: California’s Legal Definition
Aggravated trespass is defined in PC 601. This legal code states that individuals can be charged with aggravated trespass if they credibly threaten someone with serious bodily injury and then unlawfully:
- Enter the Property of the Threatened Individual.
- Enter the Workplace of the Threatened Individual.
- Enter a Building Contiguous to the Threatened Individual’s Residence.
An individual must enter a restricted area within 30 days of making a credible threat to face PC 601 charges in California. You should also be aware that aggravated trespass charges should not apply if the accused enters their own:
- Real Property.
Aggravated Trespass: Examples in California
Strengthen your understanding of aggravated trespass charges with these examples:
Man A goes through a bad breakup with his girlfriend. He threatens to severely injure her the last time they speak and then speeds off in his car. Later that night, he returns to her apartment to carry out his threats. He could be arrested and charged with aggravated trespass.
Man B exits a store to find that someone hit his vehicle. The other driver is there and approaches Man B. Man B becomes enraged and threatens to kill the other driver for the damage. Man B later goes into a vehicle repair shop and discovers the other driver works there. Man B should not face PC 601 charges because he did not know he was entering the other driver’s place of business.
Aggravated Trespass: Comparison to Criminal Trespass
As we mentioned, PC 601 is not the only charge used to prosecute trespassing in California. Individuals could sometimes be charged under PC 602 instead. PC 602 is used to handle acts of criminal trespass, which involves:
- Entering Another Person’s Property
- While Intending to Interfere with or Damage Their Property
Successfully causing damage or interference with a property can also lead to criminal trespass charges in Los Angeles. Criminal trespass is generally punished less harshly than aggravated trespass, but a conviction can still lead to fines and jail time.
Aggravated Trespass: Penalties for a Conviction
The court system in California can treat aggravated trespass as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Individuals who are convicted of a misdemeanor may end up facing:
- Fines of Up to $2,000.
- Jail Time of Up to One Year.
Felony charges can be punished more harshly. A felony conviction could result in:
- Fines of Up to $10,000.
- Jail Time of Up to Three Years.
Aggravated Trespass: Possible Legal Defenses
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you build a strong defense if you are accused of aggravated trespass. Your lawyer can go over the facts surrounding your case, starting right now. Based on your unique situation, a legal professional could defend you by demonstrating that:
You Did Not Make a Credible Threat
You should only face PC 601 charges if you first credibly threaten another person with great bodily harm. If you made a threat you could not possibly carry out you should not be convicted under PC 601, even if you later entered the person’s home or place of business.
You Didn’t Intend to Actually Harm Another Person
Sometimes, people make threats in a joking way that could be misinterpreted. However, if you issued a threat without any intention of actually harming another individual, you could be able to avoid a conviction for aggravated trespass.
You Didn’t Intentionally Enter the Individual’s Place of Business
It can be difficult to keep track of where people work. If you issued a threat against a person and then entered their place of business without realizing they worked there, you could be able to defend yourself from PC 601 charges.
Handle Aggravated Trespass Charges with a Legal Professional
You can get legal advice regarding California Penal Code Section 601: Aggravated Trespass today from the Simmrin Law Group. It’s easy to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers. Reach out to us today to get a FREE case evaluation to go over all of your legal options.
Take the first step in defending yourself by calling 310-997-4688 or filling out our online contact form.