The crime of trespass in Florida can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The Mussallem Law Firm, P.A. has represented many people charged with trespass, both the felonies and the misdemeanors. Someone commits trespass when they, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance after being told to leave. The most common trespass crime is a second degree misdemeanor. If there is a person in the structure or conveyance at the time the suspect trespasses, that elevates the trespass to a first degree misdemeanor. If the offender has a gun or any other dangerous weapon and trespasses, that elevates the crime to a felony of the third degree.
As a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer, most of the trespass clients I represent were told to leave a bar or nightclub and our client allegedly refused to leave. Once the owner or an owner’s representative tells you to leave their establishment, you have to go. If you don’t, you can be arrested for trespass in Jacksonville. Most bars/restaurants hire off-duty police officers to provide extra security for the later business hours. The bouncers/security guards will be the ones who ask you to leave or physically escort you out. Once outside, if you leave, you usually will be good to go. It is when you come back, usually to find a friend, that the arrest will happen. The off-duty police officers can detain you if you return to the property. If you argue with them or pull your arm away, you can also be arrested for Resisting an Officer Without Violence, which is another first degree misdemeanor in Duval County.
Another common trespass situation is after an alleged theft crime. When someone is accused of stealing from a retail store, the person can be physically arrested or issued a Notice to Appear. Either way, the stores will often ask the police officer to "trespass" someone from the store. That way, if the accused person comes back, they can be arrested for trespassing. The "trespass" is considered a warning not to return.
Trespass is a criminal infraction that can effect your record going forward. Please contact our Jacksonville Trespass Attorney for a Free Consultation at (904) 365-5200.