Entering or remaining on another party's property can lead to criminal charges in Alabama for trespassing. Depending on the type of property that this crime was committed in, this may be a violation or a misdemeanor.
Regardless of whether a criminal trespass offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a fine, a conviction can possibly result in fines and a jail sentence. People may face these charges as the result of honest misunderstandings, basic confusion, or possibly even false accusations.
Huntsville Criminal Trespass Lawyer
If you have been arrested for allegedly trespassing in Alabama, it is in your best interest to have legal representation that will diligently fight to protect your rights. Law Offices Of Segal & Segal aggressively defends clients in communities throughout Madison County, Limestone County, Morgan County, Jackson County, and Marshall County.
Our Madison County criminal trespass attorneys have more than four decades of combined experience in Alabama courtrooms, including previous roles as prosecutors that give us a unique insight into how these types of cases are handled. You can have our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case by calling (256) 533-4529 or sending us an online message right now to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Alabama Criminal Trespass Information Center
- How does the type of property affect the grade of the crime?
- Are there other trespassing offenses?
- What defenses can alleged offenders possibly use in these cases?
Criminal Trespass Charges in Madison County
There are three degrees of this crime established under the Code of Alabama. The difference between the grading of these criminal offenses is as follows:
- Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree, Code of Alabama § 13A-7-4 — Alleged offender knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises, a term that Code of Alabama § 13A-7-1(1) states can include any real property or any building—which is defined as any structure which may be entered and utilized by persons for business, public use, lodging, or the storage of goods. This is a violation punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $200.
- Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, Code of Alabama § 13A-7-3 — Alleged offender knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon real property which is fenced or enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders. This is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Criminal Trespass in the First Degree, Code of Alabama § 13A-7-2 — Alleged offender knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling, a term that Code of Alabama § 13A-7-1(3) defines as a building which is used or normally used by a person for sleeping, living or lodging therein. This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
Related Criminal Trespass Crimes in Alabama
There are two other trespassing crimes established under Article 1 of Title 13A in the Code of Alabama. Criminal trespass by motor vehicle (Code of Alabama § 13A-7-4.1) is committed if an alleged offender, after having been requested not to do so by a uniformed law enforcement officer, a properly identified owner, or an authorized agent of the owner:
- Parks or stands an occupied or unoccupied motor vehicle in; or
- Repeatedly drives a motor vehicle through or within a parking area.
The parking area must be located on privately-owned property and must be provided by a merchant, a group of merchants, a shopping center, or other similar facility for customers. The parking area must also be identified by at least one sign for every 150 parking spaces stating that:
- Entry is restricted to tenants, customers, employees and invitees;
- Remaining after proper use is prohibited; and
- Violators may be charged with trespassing.
The motor vehicle must be parked, standing, or being operated for purposes other than:
- Transporting some person to or from the interior of the place of business of a merchant identified by the sign or signs in the parking area or to or from the interior of the shopping center or other facility so identified;
- Making use of a telephone, vending machine, automatic teller machine, or other similar facility located in the parking area;
- Meeting the requirements of a situation in which it has unexpectedly become impossible or impractical for the motor vehicle to continue to travel on the public roads; or
- Carrying out an activity for which express permission has been given by the owner of the parking area or an authorized representative of the owner.
This crime is classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $150 for the third or subsequent offense.
Trespass on a school bus in the first degree (Code of Alabama § 13A-7-4.2) is known as the Charles “Chuck” Poland, Jr., Act. Poland was the Midland City school bus driver who was fatally shot in January 2013 when a gunman boarded his bus and Poland refused the gunman's demand to hand over two children.
An alleged offender can be charged with this crime if he or she:
- Intentionally demolishes, destroys, defaces, injures, burns, or damages any public school bus;
- Enters a public school bus while the door is open to load or unload students without a lawful purpose, while at a railroad grade crossing, or after being forbidden from doing so by the authorized school bus driver in charge of the bus, or upon demand of a principal of a school to which the bus is assigned or other duly authorized school system official;
- As an occupant of a public school bus, refuses to leave the bus on demand of the authorized school bus driver in charge of the bus, or upon demand of a principal of a school to which the bus is assigned or other duly authorized school system official; or
- Intentionally stops, impedes, delays, or detains any public school bus being operated for public school purposes with the intent to commit a crime therein.
This crime is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
Madison County Criminal Trespass Defenses
An arrest is not the same as a conviction. When a person has been charged with trespassing, there could be any one of a number of possible defenses that could result in criminal charges being significantly reduced or completely dismissed.
The former prosecutors of Law Offices Of Segal & Segal are familiar with some of the most common police errors and other effective claims in defending these types of cases. A few examples might include, but are not limited to:
- Alleged offender given conflicting instructions by property owner;
- Alleged offender had property owner's permission;
- Alleged offender misidentified;
- Alleged premises, building, or dwelling was open to the public;
- Alleged premises, building, or dwelling was unoccupied or abandoned property;
- Lack of adequate warning or improperly posted notification;
- Lack of evidence; or
- No intent to trespass.
Find a Criminal Trespass Lawyer in Huntsville
Were you recently arrested for allegedly entering or remaining unlawfully in or upon a premises, building, or dwelling in Alabama? Do not delay in seeking legal counsel for help in ensuring the most favorable outcome to your case.
Law Offices Of Segal & Segal represent clients in the greater Huntsville area, including Decatur, Athens, New Hope, Scottsboro, Albertville, and Madison. Call (256) 533-4529 or send us an online message today to have our Madison County criminal trespass attorneys review your case.