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Understanding Trespassing Charges In Georgia

Trespassing is a fairly broad crime in Georgia. The severity of the crime can range from a misdemeanor to a major felony. While it seems cut and dry, there are a great many parts for trespassing to be considered criminal trespassing.

There are numerous ways criminal trespassing;

  1. A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally damages any property of another without consent of that other person and the damage thereto is $500.00 or less.

The damage must be intentional, and not the result of an accident. It needs to be shown that the person accused of criminal trespassing had no other motive outside of destroying property.

It the cost of the damages totals more than $500.00, the accused is liable for criminal damage to property in the second degree as well, per OCGA 16-7-23

B.A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she knowingly and maliciously interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without consent of that person.

“Property of another” can apply to personal or real property, as well as business activities and properties.

C.A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she knowingly and without authority enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person for an unlawful purpose.

When determining criminal trespassing, it must be shown that the entry was unlawful. Some entry is permitted depending on the situation, such as providing medical assistance or rescue, so it must be determined that the entry was done with the unlawful intent.

D.A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she knowingly and without authority enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person after receiving notice from the owner, occupant, or representative that such entry is forbidden.

“Notice” includes clear markers such as “no trespassing” signs, or verbal warnings. Being on unmarked private property does not fall under the trespassing umbrella unless there is clear unlawful intent.

E.A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she remains upon the land or premises of another person or within the vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person after receiving notice from the owner, occupant, or a representative to depart.

Consent to enter private property can be withdrawn at any time by the owner of the property, whether it is personal property or a business. There must be a reasonable amount of time given for the person to leave the property however.

Since trespassing has so many variations, and penalties ranging from misdemeanor to major felony, having an attorney that understands the details behind the multiple charges is essential if you are accused of trespassing.

If you are facing trespassing charges in Georgia, we can help. At ATC Law, our criminal defense attorneys, Pat McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, are some of the state’s most respected and sought-after defense lawyers.

Our goal is to ensure the best possible outcome for you, no matter the circumstances of your case. Call our office at 770-822-0900 for more information or to request a case evaluation.

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