California Trespassing Attorney
There are over 20 different types of trespassing outlawed by California Penal Code section 602. The most common trespassing charges include:
602(m) – any person entering and occupying real property or structures of any kind without the consent of the owner, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession.
602(o) – any person refusing or failing to leave land, real property, or structures belonging to or lawfully occupied by another and not open to the general public, upon being requested to leave by the owner, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession OR by a police officer at their request assuming the peace officer informs the defendant that he/she is acting at their request. This subdivision shall NOT apply to persons engaged in lawful labor union activities. Any apartment building is considered not open to the general public for purposes of this section, but this section shall NOT apply to people who are engaged in constitutionally protected activities or people who are invited by residents or management and who are not loitering or otherwise violating any law.
602.5(a) – every person other than a police officer or employee acting within the scope of their duties who remains in a residence without the consent of the owner, owner’s agent, on person in lawful possession.
602.5(b) – every person who violates 602.5(a) while a resident is present is guilty of aggravated trespass.
Elements of Trespassing
In order to prove a violation of California Penal Code section 602(m), the People must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The defendant willfully entered land or a building belonging to someone else without the consent of the owner, the owner’s agent or person in lawful possession of the property;
2. After the defendant entered, he or she occupied the land or building without the consent of the owner, the owner’s agent or person in lawful possession of the property;
3. The defendant occupied some part of the land or building continuously until removed.
In order for the People to prove the crime of Penal Code section 602.5, they must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The defendant willfully entered or remained in a noncommercial dwelling / apartment / house belonging to someone else; AND
2. The defendant entered or remained without the consent of the owner, the owner’s agent or the person in lawful possession of the property.
And in violations of aggravated trespass:
3. A resident was present at some time while the defendant was trespassing.
Sentencing for Trespass
Any type of trespassing violation is a misdemeanor. A violation of Penal Code section 602(m), 602(o) and 602.5(a) is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of six months county jail. A violation of Penal Code section 602.5(b) is a more serious misdemeanor with the following consequences:
* maximum punishment of one year county jail
* up to three years of supervised (formal) probation with mandatory counseling
* restraining order for up to three years preventing contact with the victim
Not only can a hit and run conviction lead to criminal penalties, but it can also have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. Hit and run crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which are crimes that relate to a person’s honesty. Having a hit and run conviction can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, accountants, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks. A professional who has a hit and run conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place. Perhaps the most severe impact of a hit and run conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents, with a green card, or temporary visitors, with a visa, can be denied admission or naturalization or even deported, with a hit and run conviction on their record.
The Right Lawyer
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing criminal hit and run charges. Many people who face hit and run charges are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of hit and run, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively. You need an attorney like Fred Thiagarajah.
As a former Deputy District Attorney, Fred Thiagarajah has the negotiating skills and trial experience necessary to get the best results for his clients, for criminal cases and immigration consequences. Fred Thiagarajah has helped clients with hit and run charges in the past. For an example of his work, please see his case results and read his client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Riverside, Fred Thiagarajah has criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties.
The Right Lawyer. The Right Result.
The Right Choice.
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