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Trespassing in Florida

Trespass in structure or conveyance

This charge usually involves trespassing in a building, the curtilage of a building (the surrounding, enclosed area of a building), or a car.

  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor - If no person is present in the structure or conveyance than it is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days county jail.

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor - If a person, other than the defendant, is present in the structure or conveyance then it is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months county jail.

  • Third-degree Felony - If the person is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or arms oneself while in the structure or conveyance) it is a felony of the third degree.  This is punishable by up to five years’ prison.


Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance

This charge involves trespassing on land or property (rather than inside a building, structure or a car).  

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor - The crime of Trespass on Property is a first-degree misdemeanor.

  • Third Degree Felony – Trespassing on Property can be charged as a felony if (1) the offender is armed with a firearm or dangerous weapon, (2) the offender is hunting, (3) the area involves a construction site, (4) the area is a domestic violence center, (5) the area is an agricultural testing site, or (6) the area is an agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility.


Defenses to Trespassing

  • Inadequate Warning


Legally, a person must be “put on notice” that they are not allowed on the property.  The prosecutor must be able to prove that there was prior notice given.  In other words, that the person was actually told not to come over, prior to them coming over.  

  • Invitation


Being invited over can be a defense to trespass.  For instance, dad doesn’t like daughter’s boyfriend and tells him not to come over.  Daughter secretly invites her boyfriend over anyway. Dad gets mad and calls the police and wants boyfriend arrested for trespass.  Boyfriend has the defense of invitation.

  • Authority to Enter


This defense usually comes into play when one is living in an apartment or house with a girlfriend/boyfriend and later starts spending time somewhere else.  If the person has not been legally evicted or there has not been a legal ejectment, then it can be argued that the person has every legal right to enter back on to the property.

  • No Authority to Trespass


The person wanting to trespass another must have the legal authority to trespass.  For example, the renter of an apartment may be able to trespass a person from their own apartment, but not necessarily from the entire apartment complex or the pool or parking lot (a security guard or apartment manager may have this authority).  Similarly, if multiple people rent a home, one roommate cannot trespass another roommate’s friend from the entire house, if the friendly roommate gives permission for the friend to be there. 

  • Incorrect Posting


Florida law defines very particularly how land is to be “posted” with signs.  If the landowner did not adequately post the land, then the prosecutor likely cannot prove the case. 

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