Charlotte Trespassing Defense Lawyer

Trespassing on private property is a crime not to be taken lightly in North Carolina. Even those who enter a location without criminal intent when a “no trespassing” sign was posted can face criminal charges. It is typical for trespassing to occur when someone intentionally enters or remains on another person’s property without the owner’s permission.

Understanding North Carolina Trespassing Laws

Prosecutors can bring either criminal trespass laws as first-degree or second-degree trespassing. The first-degree trespass happens when a person enters or remains in an enclosed, secured property that is intended to keep intruders out. First-degree trespassing can also happen when someone enters a building owned by another person. Second-degree trespassing happens when you enter a property without permission when a “no trespassing” notice is posted.

Types of Trespassing Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina recognizes several different types of trespassing charges, including:

  • Trespassing
  • Burglary
  • Domestic criminal trespass
  • Injury to personal property
  • Misdemeanor breaking or entering

Those convicted of the trespassing charges above face differing penalties, depending on the specific charge. Penalties range from prison sentences between six months and eight years and fines between $1,000 and $10,000. Those convicted and sentenced to a prison term face two more years of mandatory parole after their release.

Can I Face Trespassing Charges When I did Not Intend to Trespass?

Yes, you can face trespassing charges even when you did not intend to trespass. When a property has a “no trespassing” notice posted on the property, and you enter the property, you can face second-degree trespassing charges.

Domestic Criminal Trespass Charges

Domestic criminal trespass happens in the context of dangerous domestic abuse or violent situations. Domestic criminal trespass is often linked to domestic violence; thus, it has serious implications. North Carolina laws prohibit people from being present on property occupied by a present or former spouse when the court has issued a protective order. For example, if the court issued a protective order against a boyfriend that states that he cannot be on the same property as his girlfriend, domestic criminal trespass can occur.

The law prohibits those under a protective order for being on the property occupied by the protected person for any reason at all. Even if the defendant lived with that person or was married to that person, they still cannot violate a protective order. One key exception exists, however. If you are entering the property to visit minor children, you may do so. This exception only applies when you are entering the property of a person you used to live with as a married couple, or as if you were married.

Domestic criminal trespass is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted of domestic criminal trespass face up to 120 days of incarceration. When a defendant trespassed on property designated as a facility for domestic violence victims while armed with a deadly weapon, the defendant will face a felony conviction ranging from eight to 31 months in prison.

The Negative Side Effects of a Charlotte Trespassing Conviction

Whether you are convicted of first-degree trespassing, second-degree trespassing, or domestic criminal trespass charges, you will face serious consequences. These consequences range from fines to serious prison sentences. However, the negative consequences continue after the sentencing. Whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony trespassing, you will face stigma with the following types of issues:

  • Your current employment
  • Your future career opportunities
  • Child custody and support issues
  • Immigration
  • Obtaining a mortgage loan
  • A decrease in educational opportunities
  • Possible denial of financial aid for college
Defenses Against Charlotte Trespassing Charges

The best defense for trespassing depends on the facts of the case and the type of trespass charge. For example, if you are charged with second-degree trespassing, you may be able to argue that the sign saying people cannot come on the property was not clearly presented or that you may have been unable to see it. You may be able to argue that someone gave you permission to enter the location, or that you had to enter the property due to an emergency.

Our Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyers can Help

The sooner you contact the skilled criminal defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, the better. Our lawyers have the trial experience needed to mount a compelling legal defense on your behalf. We will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and help you develop a strong defense. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.