Georgia law concerning criminal trespass is very broad. The nuances of this misdemeanor offense can be difficult to understand. Here is some clarification of Georgia’s criminal trespass laws, and how you can mount a successful defense.
Georgia Criminal Trespass Laws
In order for criminal trespass to occur, one of the following scenarios must be present:
- Intentional damage of another’s property in the amount of $500 or less. This damage must be intentional, not resulting from an accident. It must be proven that the accused had no intention other than to cause damage to the property.
- Interferes with another person’s property without consent, with malicious intent. This can include personal or commercial property.
- Entering someone else’s property without permission, and with the understanding that the property belongs to someone. This can include land, a vehicle, a boat or any other property belonging to someone else. If you are offering medical aid or rescue to someone, you are exempt.
- Entering someone else’s property after being informed that entry is forbidden. This notice can be a verbal warning by the property owner, or through posted “no trespassing” signage.
- Remaining on another person’s property after being asked to leave. Again, this includes personal watercraft, land, vehicles or other personal property.
- Defacing or otherwise causing damage to a grave or other memorial. In this case, it is not necessary to prove ownership. The only stipulation is that the defendant is not the owner.
Fighting a Criminal Trespass Charge
There are several ways to fight a criminal trespass charge. If the property is not fenced or marked by any signage, it is possible to enter private property without realizing it. If you leave when being asked to do so, and you caused no substantial damage, your case may be dismissed. If you were not given adequate notice to vacate the premises before law enforcement was contacted, your case may be dismissed.
Jeff Manciagli is Your Trusted Criminal Trespass Attorney
If you are facing a criminal trespass charge, it is imperative that you seek knowledgeable legal counsel. Jeff Manciagli has the experience to help you fight a criminal trespass charge. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
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