Children are curious. It’s a fact of nature. Sometimes that curiosity leads them to places where they shouldn’t be. Unlawful entering of the property itself could result in a criminal trespassing Texas charge. If your child has been charged with criminal trespassing, don’t fret, we’re here to help.
Juvenile Criminal Trespassing Texas
For a juvenile criminal trespassing charge to stick, the State must establish the elements of the crime. First and foremost, proof must be presented that your child indeed entered someone else’s land or property without permission. Usually, this is established through a witness of the event or security camera footage to identify your child. Conversely, this can be dis-proven by providing alibi witnesses to testify that your child was with them at another location.
Say your child indeed was on the property; that is not enough to prove your child was trespassing. The State must then establish the following elements:
- the juvenile entered or remained on or in property of another
- the juvenile did so without effective consent
- when the juvenile had notice of forbidden entry or received notice to depart and failed to abide
Here the term “notice” is defined to include an oral or written communication by the landowner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner. Notice can be proven by any one of the following:
- the property is surrounded by “fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock
- “a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden”
- under specific circumstances, notice can include the “placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property”
- the “visible presence on the property of a crop grown for human consumption that is under cultivation, in the process of being harvested, or marketable if harvested at the time of entry”
For example, if the landowner neither posted signs explicitly prohibiting trespasser nor verbally prohibited entrance to your child nor any of the above notices were present, your child was not trespassing.
Criminal Trespassing Texas Charges
Ordinarily, juvenile trespassing will be a Class B misdemeanor, with some exceptions. Occasionally, a trespassing charge is accompanied by additional charges of theft or vandalism. When this occurs, there is a possibility that the case could be escalated to adult court (where the punishments are harsher).
Generally, though, juvenile criminal trespassing offenses stay in juvenile court. If convicted, the juvenile judge will consider the following factors before sentencing:
- prior criminal offenses, if any
- level of comprehension of the crime
- home life and family pressures
- the juvenile’s age
By design, juvenile judges have sentencing flexibility. They may also consider if your child has learned from their mistake and if they’re likely to avoid delinquent acts in the future. Normally, trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, probation, and up to a $2K fine. However, it can escalate to a Class A misdemeanor if:
- the juvenile has a deadly weapon with them during the offense
- the trespass occurred in a habitation or a shelter center
- the trespass occurred in or on a critical infrastructure facility or Superfund site
Hire a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Any criminal record could be harmful to children when entering adulthood. We will fight for dismissal of charges or deferred adjudication to ensure your child can move forward with the best future possible ahead of them. Give us a call to schedule a free consult, and we’ll begin strategizing your child’s defense.
To find out how we can help you, contact our criminal defense attorneys at 512-400-7070 for Criminal Trespassing Texas defense. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your juvenile criminal trespass case. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, our criminal lawyers will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.