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Criminal Trespassing Charges

Trespassing on a commercial or residential property in Arizona is unlawful and can be a Class 3, Class 2 or Class 1 misdemeanor offense – and sometimes a Class 6 felony – depending on the details surrounding the incident. The state of Arizona recognizes three types of unlawful trespassing crimes, each discussed briefly below.

Trespassing in the Third Degree

Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-1502 defines criminal trespassing in the third degree as entering a real property or remaining there after a law enforcement officer, property owner or another who has control over the property has asked the person to leave.

Criminal trespassing in the third degree is the least severe of the three classifications of trespassing crimes in Arizona. It’s a Class 3 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

Trespassing in the Second Degree

Trespassing in the second degree is a more serious, Class 2 misdemeanor offense. The statutes define this action as “knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on any nonresidential structure or in any fenced commercial yard.”

Because this is a more serious crime, it means stiffer penalties. If convicted of trespassing in the second degree, defendants face up to four months’ jail time and up to $750 in fines.

Trespassing in the First Degree

The last category of trespassing charges is the most severe: Trespassing in the first degree is either a Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 6 felony, depending upon the nature of the crime.

The statutes list six criminal trespassing crimes that fall under this category of offenses:

  • entering a fenced residential yard;
  • entering someone’s yard and looking into their home, which violates their privacy;
  • entering another party’s property that has mineral claim and intending to take minerals;
  • unlawfully entering a residential structure;
  • entering someone’s property and defacing or manipulating a religious symbol without the owner’s permission; and
  • unlawfully entering a public services facility.

The first three actions above are Class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail and $2,500 in fines. The last three are Class 6 felony offenses. The presumptive sentence is a year in jail, though this may be greater for repeat offenders and under other circumstances. Offenders also may face up to $150,000 in fines.

Consult a Defense Attorney in Tucson to Discuss Your Case

Many see trespassing as a relatively mild crime, but this is a misconception. If charged with any type of criminal trespassing offense and convicted, you can face jail time and the damaging ripple effect of a criminal record. To get help from a criminal defense attorney in Tucson, contact Michael Harwin to schedule a consultation. Call us at 520-624-3500.