What To Know About Criminal Trespass in NC

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In North Carolina, trespassing occurs when a person intends to enter or stays on a piece of property without permission. Criminal intent is a significant part of North Carolina trespassing law. If you have been charged with criminal trespass in North Carolina, criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe will work to negate elements of the crime, often by showing that you did not intend to be on someone else’s property illegally.

Criminal Trespassing Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina identifies three types of trespassing.

  • In a case of first-degree trespassing, a person has entered or stayed on someone else’s land without permission, and the property trespassed upon is an enclosed or secured property that clearly indicates an intent to keep others out.
  • Cases of second-degree trespassing often flow from a case of first-degree trespassing and occur after an intruder has been notified to leave or when there is a notice not to enter, such as the presence of a “No Trespassing” sign.
  • Domestic criminal trespassing occurs when a person who is banned from their former partner’s property enters and refuses to leave the property.

Penalties for Criminal Trespass

First-degree trespassing is typically a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Aggravating factors can enhance the charge to an A1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 150 days in jail and a fine.

Trespassing onto the property of a public utility provider with the intent to disrupt normal operations can lead to a Class H felony charge, punishable by 39 months in prison. The crime can be enhanced to a Class I felony if the intruder returns after having been removed.

Second-degree trespassing is usually charged as a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 20 days in jail and a $200 fine. If there are aggravating factors, the charges can increase in severity.

Because of the potential for domestic violence, domestic criminal trespass is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail and a fine at the judge’s discretion.

Defending Against Criminal Trespassing Charges

Defending against criminal trespassing charges often involves negating one of the elements of the crime. The most common defense is to try to eliminate the element of intent.

In other instances, your defense will focus on reasonable doubt or problems with the investigation itself, such as whether your constitutional rights were violated or the police mishandled evidence.

If you have been charged with criminal trespassing in North Carolina, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is crucial. The Stowe Law Firm, PLLC will conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to your arrest and explain your rights and options. Then we will work with the prosecutor to negotiate a favorable resolution or, if necessary, defend you at trial.

The Stowe Law Firm, PLLC: Serious Defense for Serious Crimes

North Carolina trespassing charges are serious and conviction can result in lifelong consequences. Criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe will prepare a sound legal defense and be your advocate in court. He will work to have evidence suppressed, seek to have the charges reduced, or even have the case against you dismissed. But if a trial is inevitable, Attorney Stowe will aggressively defend you at trial.

The Stowe Law Firm is based in Salisbury, North Carolina, and proudly represents people in Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan, Davie, and Stanly counties. Attorney Stowe has extensive experience defending people accused of committing a crime and is a fierce advocate and defender of his clients’ rights. He will answer your questions and aggressively protect your rights while providing the highest levels of professionalism and service.

We invite you to learn more about North Carolina criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe and the cases he handles. Then contact the Stowe Law Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.