In Florida, trespass is a criminal offense that is generally charged as a first or
second degree misdemeanor. If you have been charged with Trespass in Florida, contact
our Jacksonville Trespass Attorney today for a free consultation.
How is Trespass Defined Under Florida Law?
The crime of trespass is codified under Sections 810.08 and 810.09 of the Florida
Statutes. Broadly speaking, there are two types of trespass: (1) Trespass in Structure
or Conveyance, and (2) Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance.
(1) Trespass in Structure or Conveyance- Under Florida law, a Trespass in Structure
or Conveyance occurs when a person, without being authorized,willfully enters or
remains in any structure (such as a building or dwelling) or conveyance. The offense
can also apply to situations where a person, who was once authorized or licensed
to enter the structure or conveyance, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises
(or an agent of the owner or lessee), to depart, and then the person refuses to do
To prove the crime of Trespass in Structure or Conveyance, the prosecution must establish
the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) the defendant willfully entered
or remained in the structure/conveyance or having been authorized to enter, willfully
refused to depart after being warned by the owner, lessee, or agent of the owner/lessee,
(2) The structure or conveyance was in the lawful possession of the person alleging
the trespass, (3) the entering in or remaining in the structure or conveyance by
the defendant was without the permission, express or implied, of the person alleging
the trespass (or his or her agent).
(2) Trespass on Property Other Than a Structure or Conveyance- this type of trespass
occurs where a person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully
enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance. The
elements that must be proven at trial for this offense are as follows: (1) the defendant
willfully entered upon or remained in the property alleged, (2) the property was
owned by or in the lawful possession of the person/entity claiming the trespass,
(3) notice not to enter upon or remain in that property had been given by either
actual communication or by posting, cultivation, or fencing on the property, and
(4) the defendant’s entering upon or remaining in the property was without the permission,
express or implied, of the person or entity claiming the trespass or any other person
authorized to give that permission.
The phrase “posted land” is legally defined as land upon which signs are placed not
more than 500 feet apart along and at each corner of the property’s boundaries. The
signs must prominently display (in letters not less than 2 inches high) the words
“No Trespassing” and must, in smaller letters, state the owner, lessee, or occupant
of the land. However, if the property is less than five acres in area, and a dwelling
house is located on it, the property will automatically be treated as “posted land”
even though no signs have been erected.
What Are the Penalties for Trespass in Florida?
A Trespass in Structure or Conveyance is typically charged in Jacksonville as a second
degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in jail. However, if a person
is present in the structure where the trespass occurs, then trespass is considered
a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. If the offender
is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, then the trespass can be charged
as a third degree felony with a five year maximum prison term.
A Trespass on Property Other Than a Structure or Conveyance is a first degree misdemeanor,
punishable by up to one year in jail. However, if the offender carries a firearm
or other dangerous weapon, the violation can be charged as a third degree felony
with a maximum term of of imprisonment of up to 5 years.