California law applicable to trespassing is contained in California Penal Code § 602 PC. Trespassing involves the unlawful entry onto the property of another without permission or any legal right. Remaining on the property of another without permission may also result in a trespassing charge. Many California domestic violence laws are frequently charged with the criminal act of trespass, a specific intent crime.

For an individual to be charged with criminal trespass, he or she must do more than merely enter the land of another without authority. The offense of criminal trespass also requires specific intent to interfere with or damage the owner’s property or rights in the property. Also, the offender must actually interfere with or damage the property. Trespass is typically charged as a misdemeanor but may result in felony charges if the perpetrator threatens the victim with harm and illegally enters the victim’s home or workplace.

Criminal trespass is also often charged with stalking and making criminal threats. Persons accused of illegally entering a location where a person lives or works, may be susceptible to trespass charges as well as domestic violence charges.

The following are some typical examples of actions that constitute criminal trespass under California law:

  • Illegally occupying another’s property.
  • Failure to leave the property of another upon request of the owner.
  • Entering the property of another intending to damage the property.
  • Entering the property of another intending to interfere with business.
  • After being asked to leave by someone with authority, failing to leave a building during the hours the building is regularly closed to the public.

California Penal Code § 601 PC states that a person is guilty of trespass who makes a credible threat to cause serious bodily injury to another person with the intent to place that other person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and commits either of the following acts:

(1) Within 30 days of the threat, unlawfully enters into the residence or real property contiguous to the residence of the person threatened without lawful purpose, and with the intent to execute the threat against the target of the threat.

(2) Within 30 days of the threat, knowing that the place is the threatened person’s workplace, unlawfully enters into the workplace of the person threatened and carries out an act or acts to locate the threatened person within the workplace premises without lawful purpose, and with the intent to execute the threat against the target of the threat.

A violation of § 602 is typically punished as a misdemeanor with imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by both the fine and imprisonment. A violation of § 601 is typically punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

As a California Criminal Trial Lawyer with over 40 years of courtroom experience, John Patrick Dolan has handled everything from traffic tickets to death penalty murder cases. These four decades of experience have helped John Patrick Dolan help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Mr. Dolan is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of domestic violence defense cases. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.

A Look At California Trespassing Laws