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Criminal Trespass

Criminal Trespass Defense Attorney in Phoenix

Owning property is a shared value for individuals and families, and because of this, illegally entering someone's property — known as criminal trespassing — is taken seriously by the law. Different situations can lead to trespassing charges, including misunderstandings or false claims. If someone is found guilty of trespassing, it can lead to severe penalties like fines or even jail time, and it can also make things like getting a job or renting a house harder in the future. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help your case lead to a better outcome, like less severe charges or even getting the case thrown out altogether.

If you're accused of trespassing in Phoenix, Arizona, it's crucial to contact an experienced defense attorney. When you work with the Nava Law Firm, you'll partner with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the court system and aggressively defend your case. Our attorneys can help identify any mistakes in the accusations against you and help defend your side of the story. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help and protect your rights.

What are the Trespassing Laws in Arizona?

In Arizona, criminal trespassing is not a minor infraction but a serious legal offense that can escalate to felony charges under specific events. Arizona law organizes criminal trespassing into three classifications, each with its standards and legal consequences:

Third-degree criminal trespassing, explained in A.R.S. 13-1502, addresses the least severe but still unlawful acts of trespassing that include:

  • Remaining on any property after being expressly asked to leave by the owner or an authoritative figure.
  • Entering or staying on railroad property, which includes tracks, storage yards, switching areas, and any railroad rolling stock.

Second-degree criminal trespassing, under A.R.S. 13-1503, focuses on the unauthorized entry or continued presence on nonresidential property or a commercial fenced yard. This can apply to various types of commercial property where the trespasser has no right or permission to be.

First-degree criminal trespassing, codified under A.R.S 13-1504, encompasses the most severe forms of trespass. This degree is characterized by knowingly:

  • Making an unlawful entry or remaining in someone's residential structure.
  • Intruding or lingering in a fenced residential yard.
  • Trespassing in a residential yard with the intent to invade privacy by peering into the residence.
  • Illegally entering a property with an active mineral claim with the intention of mining or extracting materials for personal gain.
  • Trespassing on any property and causing damage, which may include vandalism or destruction.
  • Unlawfully entering a facility that provides public services.
  • Such infringements are taken very seriously due to the violation of residential security and privacy, as well as the potential for harm to persons or property.

Each level of trespassing offense in Arizona carries potential legal penalties corresponding to the degree of trespass, with the first degree being the most serious and the third degree the least. These statutes affirm Arizona's commitment to preserving the sanctity of both private and commercial property, upholding the state's strong stance on property rights.

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Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in Arizona

In Arizona, trespassing offenses are categorized and penalized according to the severity of the transgression, with a specific focus on the nature of the trespassed property and the trespasser's intent. Here are the following penalties for each type of trespassing violation:

Third Degree Trespass (Class 3 Misdemeanor)

  • Jail Time: Those convicted face up to 30 days in incarceration.
  • Fines: Monetary penalties can reach $500, and this does not include surcharges, which are often levied to support various state funds or initiatives.

Second Degree Trespass (Class 2 Misdemeanor)

  • Jail Time: Conviction can lead to a potential jail term of up to 4 months.
  • Fines: Fines for this misdemeanor can go up to $750, with additional surcharges that can significantly increase the financial burden.

First Degree Trespass (Class 6 Felony)

  • Violations: This felony charge applies to more egregious trespassing instances such as entering or remaining unlawfully in a residential structure, defacing religious or sacred sites, or breaching the security of critical public service facilities.
  • Jail Time: Those found guilty could face a jail sentence of up to 1.5 years.
  • Fines: The fines for a Class 6 felony are severe, potentially going up to $150,000, reflecting the seriousness with which Arizona law treats these violations.

First Degree Trespass (Class 1 Misdemeanor)

  • Violations: Trespassing within fenced residential areas, intrusive observation into residential structures (often associated with voyeurism), or illegal entry onto land with mineral rights all fall under this classification.
  • Jail Time: Sentencing can include up to 6 months in jail.
  • Fines: Conviction may also result in fines of up to $2,500, not counting the additional surcharges.

Additional Considerations

  • Variable Sentencing: The prescribed penalties are standard, but actual sentencing can vary greatly. Factors influencing this variability include the defendant's criminal history, aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and the specific details of the trespassing incident.
  • Judicial Discretion: Arizona judges have a range of options at their disposal. They may impose the full sentence, probation, or even require community service or restitution, depending on the case specifics.
  • Impact of Legal Representation: The role of a defense attorney can be crucial in these cases. An experienced lawyer might negotiate plea deals, push for lesser charges, or even argue for alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs, particularly for first-time offenders.

It is also worth noting that repeat offenders or those with significant criminal backgrounds may face harsher sentences. Conversely, factors such as lack of intent to commit any additional crime or evidence that the trespassing was due to a misunderstanding can play a role in reducing sentencing. The ultimate outcome in any trespassing case in Arizona heavily depends on the unique circumstances surrounding each incident.

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Contact a Criminal Trespassing Defense Attorney in Phoenix

If you face trespassing charges in Phoenix, Arizona, please contact us at the Nava Law Firm today. At The Nava Law Firm, we understand the details of trespassing laws and the serious implications for those charged. Our expert attorneys are dedicated to providing a strong defense for our clients, using strategic analysis and negotiation to protect their rights. Whether it's reducing charges or seeking case dismissal, we bring our legal understanding to help ensure the best possible outcome for each case. 

‍Our firm primarily serves the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, and other areas around Arizona. If you are in need of an experienced Criminal Defense attorney in Maricopa County, please contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.


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Legal Disclaimer:

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Many factors contribute to providing legal advice, including the specific facts of a situation. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Armando Nava is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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