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Understanding Criminal Trespass Laws in Arizona

At The Law Office of Daniel Hutto, we understand the complexities surrounding criminal trespass laws in the state of Arizona. If you find yourself facing criminal trespass charges, seek legal representation from a experienced defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.

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What You Should Know About Criminal Trespass Laws in Arizona

criminal trespassing in arizona

What is Criminal Trespass?

In Arizona, criminal trespass is generally defined as knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on a property after being requested to leave, without permission from the owner, or in violation of a posted sign warning of trespass. The severity of the offense can vary depending on the circumstances involved.

In Arizona the key differences between first and second degree criminal trespass can mainly be found in the severity of the offence and the type of property that is unlawfully entered:

First-Degree Criminal Trespass

  • Typically includes entering or remaining unlawfully on a residential structure or a fenced residential yard, with in some cases an intended act of looking into a residential structure in a surreptitious manner. Also includes entering or remaining unlawfully in a critical public service facility.
  • It’s a more severe offense, generally classified as a Class 6 felony or Class 5 felony depending on the particulars of the incident.

Second-Degree Criminal Trespass

  •  Typically includes entering or remaining unlawfully in or on any non-residential property or an unfenced residential yard.
  • It’s a less severe offence, generally classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Both types of criminal trespass involve someone intentionally being in a place or on property without permission, but first-degree trespass generally involves residential or key public properties and carries a higher potential penalty.

Third-Degree Criminal Trespass

In Arizona, third-degree criminal trespass is defined as the unlawful entry or remaining on a property after the owner has made a reasonable request or issued a warning to leave. More specifically, this might include entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over the property.

Another example is entering or remaining unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company.

This is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona.

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Potential Penalties for Criminal Trespass

The penalties for criminal trespass in Arizona vary depending on the degree of the offense.

First-Degree Criminal Trespass Penalties

First-degree criminal trespass is classified as a class six felony if it involves entering or remaining unlawfully in a residential structure, “cross burning,” or unlawfully entering a critical public service facility. For a first offense, the punishment may range from probation with zero to one year in jail or imprisonment from four months to two years. Previous felony convictions can result in extended prison sentences.

If the criminal trespass involves entering or remaining unlawfully on a fenced residential yard, looking into a residential structure (“peeping”), or being on a property without a valid mineral claim (“illegal mining”), it is charged as a class one misdemeanor. The penalties for a first offense misdemeanor include probation with zero to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 plus an 84% surcharge.

Second-Degree Criminal Trespass Penalties

Second-degree criminal trespass is classified as a class two misdemeanor. If convicted, an individual may face probation and up to four months in jail, along with a fine of $750 plus 80% surcharges.

Third-Degree Criminal Trespass Penalties

Third-degree criminal trespass is charged as a class three misdemeanor. The potential penalties include probation with up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 plus an 80% surcharge.

trespassing charges

Defense Strategies for Criminal Trespass Charges

Building a strong defense against criminal trespass charges requires a comprehensive understanding of the law and the ability to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. At The Law Office of Daniel Hutto, we employ various defense strategies to protect the rights and interests of our clients. Some common defenses include:

Lack of Requisite Intent

Demonstrating that the defendant was unaware they were unlawfully entering or remaining on the property. This can be effective when the defendant was not properly informed through conspicuous signage or other means.

Lack of Authorization

Arguing that the person who asked the defendant to leave lacked actual authority to revoke permission. Establishing a timeline of events and interviewing witnesses can support this defense.

Constitutional Violations

Challenging the admissibility of incriminating statements based on Miranda rights violations or denial of the right to counsel. Additionally, we may challenge search warrants or expose any forensic flaws that may have occurred during the investigation.

Flawed Reports and Procedures

Scrutinizing police reports for inaccuracies, misstatements, or flawed procedures, such as photo line-ups or crime scene reconstructions, can cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

How The Law Office of Daniel Hutto Can Help

At The Law Office of Daniel Hutto, we have a team of skilled defense attorneys ready to protect your rights and provide you with strong legal representation. Our extensive experience in criminal law and dedication to our clients’ well-being have led to numerous successful outcomes. We understand the importance of a thorough defense and will utilize all available resources to challenge the charges against you.


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Contact The Law Office of Daniel Hutto for a Strong Defense

If you are facing criminal trespass charges in Arizona, contact The Law Office of Daniel Hutto for a free initial consultation. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to discuss your case and provide you with the guidance and support you need. Call (602) 536-7878.

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