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As experienced attorneys, we often get questions about what constitutes criminal trespassing under Texas law, the difference between trespassing and criminal trespassing, who can issue a criminal trespass warning in Texas, and what kind of punishment a defendant can expect.

This blog post aims to explain Texas trespass laws in detail and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about them.

What is Criminal Trespassing Under Texas Penal Code?

Criminal trespassing under Texas law encompasses situations in which a person enters or remains on someone else’s property (including aircraft, vehicles, and farmland) despite clear warnings against entry.

Criminal trespass warnings in Texas are taken seriously, and we’ll delve into how these warnings are issued and what penalties accompany criminal trespass convictions.

Difference Between Trespassing and Criminal Trespassing

Under Texas trespassing laws, the distinction between trespassing and criminal trespassing lies in the intentional nature of the latter. Both knowing and unknowing trespass may be prosecuted, even if the defendant has not seen or heard the notice.

Criminal trespass in Texas goes beyond mere presence on the property, reflecting a conscious choice to violate boundaries.

Who Can Issue a Criminal Trespass Warning in Texas?

In Texas, criminal trespass warnings can be issued by property owners, representatives, attorneys, police officers, neighbors, or tenants.

The authority to issue a criminal trespass warning in Texas is broad and emphasizes the protection of property rights.

How to Issue a Criminal Trespass Warning in Texas?

A criminal trespass warning in Texas can be issued through various means, including:

  • Written or oral notice from the owner or someone acting on their behalf;
  • Physical enclosure such as a fence;
  • A clear sign stating that entry is forbidden and posted at a visible and accessible place;
  • Purple paint marks of appropriate size and placement on trees or poles spaced up to 100 feet apart on forest land or 1,000 feet apart on non-forest land;
  • Noticeable presence on the property of a crop cultivated, in the process of being harvested, or marketable for human consumption.

If boundaries are unclear or compromised, the defense may argue unintentional trespassing.

Criminal Trespass Punishment

Penalties for trespassing in Texas can be severe. Criminal trespass laws in Texas are usually classified as a Class B misdemeanor and a trespass conviction is punishable by up to $2,000 fine or 180 days in jail.

If a deadly weapon is involved or trespassing occurs on farmland, it may be classified as a Class C misdemeanor, with up to $4,000 fine and a year in jail.

Texas trespass laws also recognize an escalation to burglary when trespassing with criminal intent.

Does A Trespass Warning Go On Your Record?

A criminal trespass warning in Texas does not itself go on a person’s record. However, a conviction for criminal trespass may leave a mark on one’s criminal history, impacting future opportunities and legal standing.

Contact GHC Law Firm

If you need professional assistance with a criminal trespassing case in Texas or have further questions about Texas trespassing law, contact GHC Law Firm. Our experienced team is here to help you navigate the complexities of criminal trespass warnings and penalties in Texas.

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