Trespassing is one of several different property crimes in North Carolina, including breaking and entering and causing damage to personal property. Law enforcement officers in Charlotte take all property crimes seriously, and trespassing is how almost all property crimes start. Thus, local police try to reduce all property crime by taking an especially hardline approach to trespassing offenses.
If you’ve been arrested for trespassing, a Charlotte criminal defense attorney at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, can help you defend against these charges and avoid the negative consequences of a conviction. We have decades of combined experience handling both misdemeanor and felony trespassing offenses and know what it takes to ensure your recent arrest impacts your future as little as possible.Trespassing Crimes in North Carolina
North Carolina law provides for two types of trespassing crimes: trespassing in the first degree and trespassing in the second degree.
Second Degree Trespassing
Trespassing in the second degree is outlined under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-159.13, which provides that someone commits the offense if they unlawfully enter or remain on property belonging to another person if,
- The defendant was notified that they cannot enter or remain on the premises by a person in control or lawful occupant or
- There is a sign indicating that trespassing is prohibited.
Second-degree trespass is a Class 3 misdemeanor. If you have fewer than four prior convictions, a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction will result in a fine. However, if you have four or more convictions on your record, you could face up to 20 days in jail.
Trespassing in the First Degree
Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-159.12, trespassing in the first degree involves unlawfully entering or remaining in a building belonging to another person. The offense also applies to enclosed areas that are clearly marked to keep out intruders.
A first-degree trespass conviction can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances; however, in general, the offense is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor.
That said, trespassing in the first degree becomes more serious if the offense involves trespassing into a building or over/under a fence onto land operated by utility companies, such as water treatment facilities, electric power suppliers, or natural gas distribution centers. In this case, the crime will be considered a Class 1A misdemeanor. However, if your intent was to disrupt the function of the facility or you placed yourself or anyone else in serious danger, the offense will be graded as a Class H felony.
Additionally, trespassing can be a Class I felony if,
- You re-entered real property after having been removed pursuant to the execution of a valid order or writ for possession or
- You claimed a right to be on the property by providing false evidence.
While there is sometimes a relationship between trespassing and committing other property crimes, that is not always the case. There are several other reasons you may have trespassed on someone else's property. For example, you may have ventured onto a piece of land, not knowing it was private property. Or you may have entered another’s property for recreational purposes, not intending to commit a crime. In some cases, the landowner may not have put up warning signs, or the signs may have been obscured by trees. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, a skilled Charlotte trespassing lawyer at the Olsinski Law Firm can work with you to develop a compelling defense designed to ensure your case ends with a favorable ruling.Have You Been Charged With Trespassing in Charlotte?
When it comes to choosing your legal representation, it is very important to choose a law firm with a strong focus on defending property crimes. Unlike other firms, The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC has a dedicated team of Charlotte trespassing lawyers who focus specifically on trespassing and other property crimes. You can rest assured that we do not just offer trespassing representation as an afterthought – these cases are one of our primary focuses. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 704-405-2850, or connect with us through our secure online contact form.