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Criminal Trespass

A person generally commits the crime of trespassing by entering or remaining on another party’s property without authorization to do so. Florida has numerous laws against trespassing, and an alleged offender can face misdemeanor or felony charges.

Numerous factors can influence the grade of criminal offense that a person is charged with, including the specific type of property involved as well as whether an alleged offender was armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Many people are accused of trespassing crimes as the result of honest misunderstandings.

Lawyer for Criminal Trespass Arrests in Miami-Dade County, FL

Were you recently arrested for any kind of alleged criminal trespass offense in South Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Hoffman Firm.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who represents clients accused of property crimes in North Miami, Aventura, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and many surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County. Call (305) 249-0090 right now to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.


North Miami Criminal Trespass Information Center


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Florida Criminal Trespass Charges

Trespass crimes are listed under Chapter 810 of the Florida Statutes. Florida Statute § 810.011 provides the following definitions as used in this chapter:

  • Structure — A building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof (during the time of a state of emergency declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor and within the area covered by such executive order or proclamation, the term means a building of any kind or such portions or remnants thereof as exist at the original site, regardless of absence of a wall or roof);
  • Dwelling — A building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the curtilage thereof (during the time of a state of emergency declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor and within the area covered by such executive order or proclamation, the term includes such portions or remnants thereof as exist at the original site, regardless of absence of a wall or roof); and
  • Conveyance — Any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car; and “to enter a conveyance” includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance (during the time of a state of emergency declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor and within the area covered by such executive order or proclamation, the term “conveyance” means a motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car or such portions thereof as exist).

The four different trespassing offenses established under state law include the following:

  • Trespass in Structure or Conveyance, Florida Statute § 810.08 — An alleged offender commits a second-degree misdemeanor if he or she, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so. If there was a human being in the structure or conveyance at the time the alleged offender trespassed, attempted to trespass, or was in the structure or conveyance, trespass in a structure or conveyance is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the alleged offender was armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or armed himself or herself with such while in the structure or conveyance, trespass in a structure or conveyance is a third-degree felony.
  • Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance, Florida Statute § 810.09 — An alleged offender commits a first-degree misdemeanor if he or she, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance as to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing, or cultivation; or if the property is the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling and the alleged offender enters or remains with the intent to commit an offense thereon, other than the offense of trespass. If the alleged offender was armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the commission of trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance or the area is a construction site, horticultural site, agricultural site designated for testing or research purposes, agricultural chemicals manufacturing facility or domestic violence center and a sign is posted identifying it as such and warning that trespassing is a felony, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance is a third-degree felony.
  • Trespass on School Property with Firearm or Other Weapon, Florida Statute § 810.095 — An alleged offender commits a third-degree felony if he or she is trespassing upon school property and brings onto, or to possesses on, such school property any weapon or any firearm. School property is defined as “the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic,” and weapon is defined under Florida Statute § 790.001(13) as “any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife.”
  • Trespass Upon Grounds or Facilities of a School, Florida Statute § 810.097 — An alleged offender commits a second-degree misdemeanor if he or she does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property, or is a student currently under suspension or expulsion and enters or remains upon the campus or any other facility owned by any such school. If the alleged offender enters or remains upon the campus or other facility of a school after the principal of such school, or his or her designee, has directed the alleged offender to leave such campus or facility or not to enter upon the campus or facility, trespass upon the grounds of a school facility is a first-degree misdemeanor.

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Criminal Trespass Penalties in Miami

The possible punishments people can be sentenced to if they plead guilty to or are convicted of trespassing offenses depends on how the underlying crimes were classified. Statutory maximums in these cases are generally as follows:

  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500;
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; or
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

It is important to note that the jury instructions for certain trespassing offenses state that the authority to enter upon or remain in property does need not be given in express words, as such permission can be implied from the circumstances. Additionally, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an alleged offender “willfully” committed an alleged trespassing offense, meaning that he or she intentionally, knowingly, and purposely broke the law.


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Florida Criminal Trespass Resources

Chapter 13 | Florida Standard Jury Instructions — Visit this section of the Florida Supreme Court website to view the full text of the standard jury instructions for numerous trespass offenses. You can view the instructions for trespass in a structure or conveyance, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance, and trespass on school property with a firearm or weapon. To the extent that a court deems standard jury instructions applicable, they will be adopted verbatim.

Gestewitz v. State, 34 So. 3d 832 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) — Drew G. Gestewitz was charged with and convicted of possession of a controlled substance (Xanax) and escape after fleeing police while waiting for them to process a trespass warning. The trial court denied Gestewitz’s motion to suppress the Xanax discovered during his detention, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal reverse Gestewitz's convictions for possession and escape, and directed the state to discharge him. The Court of Appeal concluded that “the officers had no statutory or other lawful authority permitting them to detain Gestewitz for the purpose of issuing him a trespass warning” because “at the time the officers detained Gestewitz for warning purposes, there was no reasonable suspicion that Gestewitz committed the crime of trespass, as a trespass warning is a prerequisite to that crime.”


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The Hoffman Firm | Miami Criminal Trespass Defense Attorney

If you were arrested in South Florida for any kind of alleged trespassing crime, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm defends individuals all over the greater Miami-Dade County area, including South Miami, Doral, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami, Opa-locka, and several other nearby communities.

Miami criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman has experience handling these types of cases on both sides the aisle because of his prior experience as a former Assistant State Attorney. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.


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Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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