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Alabama law defines four different versions of criminal trespass, some of which are punishable by up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Even individuals convicted of the least serious form of this offense may face substantial financial consequences and be left with a criminal record which is visible to employers, lenders, landlords and anyone else who conducts a simple online search.

Even if your trespassing offense seems minor, it is usually wise to take it seriously. If you talk to a seasoned attorney who understands the different versions of this crime, you could learn the options for protecting your rights and fighting the charges to bring about the best possible outcome in your case. Contact an Alabama criminal trespass lawyer today.

Criminal Trespass in the First Degree

The most serious form of criminal trespass is described in Code of Alabama §13A-7-2. This offense occurs when someone enters or stays in the dwelling—defined as a building used for sleeping, living, or lodging—of another with the knowledge that their presence in the dwelling is unlawful because they were not licensed, invited, or privileged to be there. If an individual is situated on premises that are open to the public, then that person is generally considered to be licensed or privileged to be there.

First-degree criminal trespass is considered a class A misdemeanor. Those convicted of violating this statute may be sentenced under Ala. Code §13A-5-7(a)(1) to up to one year of incarceration in county jail or to one year of hard labor for the county. In addition, they may be required to pay a fine of up to $6,000. Anytime a person is charged with this offense, it is never a bad idea to speak with an Alabama criminal trespass lawyer for legal advice or help with building a defense.

Second and Third-Degree Criminal Trespass

Second-degree criminal trespass is similar to the first-degree trespass, except that instead of unlawfully entering or remaining in the home or dwelling of another, the individual trespasses in another type of building or on property that is enclosed by a fence or other means in order to keep intruders out, according to Ala. Code §13A-7-3. For instance, climbing over a fence into a scrap yard or entering a barn or she could be considered trespassing in the second degree.

Trespass in the second degree is treated as a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to three months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $500, or twice the amount of gain achieved or loss suffered by a property owner as a result of the trespass.

When someone enters or stays unlawfully on another’s property that is not enclosed, such as an open field, that action constitutes a criminal trespass offense in the third degree under Ala. Code §13A-7-4. Trespass in the third degree is treated as a criminal violation with penalties that may include a fine of up to $200 or twice the amount of gain achieved or loss suffered.

Criminal Trespass by Motor Vehicle

Defined in Ala. Code §13A-7-4.1, the crime of trespass by motor vehicle is much less straightforward than other trespass offenses. In most cases, this offense involves unauthorized parking in the lot of a shopping center. However, the property owners must comply with numerous requirements in order for an individual to be convicted of this crime. Trespass by motor vehicle is a misdemeanor punishable by fines which increase with subsequent offenses. Get in contact with an Alabama criminal trespass lawyer for more information.

Consult with an Alabama Criminal Trespass Attorney Today

Attorneys familiar with Alabama’s trespass laws know that there are many ways to successfully challenge allegations of criminal trespass. That being said, it can be important to take quick action to preserve evidence that could be key to a positive outcome in your case.

So, it is often wise to talk to an Alabama criminal trespass lawyer as soon as possible who could start working to defend your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation.