Trespassing in a Structure in Florida

Many of us have watched television shows and movies where one of the characters said to another character, “If you don’t leave my property now, I’ll have you arrested for trespassing!” While a lot of TV shows and films are not accurate about the law, this is one instance where they get it right, or at least very close.

In Florida, you can face criminal charges if you willfully enter and remain in a structure, such as a home, garage, tool shed, storage building, business, or another building if you were not authorized, invited, licensed, or if you were warned by the owner or the person leasing the building to leave. You can also be arrested if you are ordered to leave such a premises, and you refuse to depart.

What Does the Law Say?

If you trespass in a structure or a conveyance (a vehicle), you can be charged and convicted under Section 810.08 of the Florida Statutes, Trespass in Structure or Conveyance. This offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, and by a fine maximum fine of $500.

However, if you were armed with a firearm, a knife, or another dangerous weapon, or if you armed yourself while in the structure; for example, if you picked up a hammer or a knife while in the building, you would be charged with a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $5,000.

Under Sec. 810.08(c), it reads: “Any owner or person authorized by the owner may, for prosecution purposes, take into custody and detain, in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable length of time, any person when he or she reasonably believes that a violation of this paragraph has been or is being committed, and he or she reasonably believes that the person to be taken into custody and detained has committed or is committing such violation. In the event a person is taken into custody, a law enforcement officer shall be called as soon as is practicable after the person has been taken into custody.”

Are you accused of trespassing on someone’s property or in a structure or conveyance? To protect your legal rights, contact my West Palm Beach criminal defense firm.


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