North Carolina's Criminal Trespassing Laws and Penalties

Most people are aware of the general concept of trespassing, which is the act of entering someone's land without consent from the owner. However, states have imposed criminal legislation that reproves trespassing in varying degrees, circumstances and conditions, making it an offense that has a wide range of penalties. Depending on the facts of a case, a person charged with trespassing in North Carolina could face a charge as steep as a class 1 misdemeanor - the most serious type of misdemeanor in the state.

If you have been charged with trespassing in North Carolina, you probably want to know what you're up against. For the purposes of this article, we'll provide a brief overview of the different types of trespassing laws in the state and their penalties. For a more in-depth evaluation of your case and how to defend against your trespassing charges, you should consult the legal professionals at our firm.

First Degree Trespass

This type of trespassing involves a person entering an enclosed property without permission. People are charged with this offense if the property is secured in a fashion that clearly shows an intent to keep intruders out. An example of this effort is if there is a gate or fence at the entrance of the property that a person has trespassed.

First-degree trespassing is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Second-Degree Trespass

A person can be charged with second-degree trespassing if he or she either (1) was asked by the owner of the property to not remain there or (2) there is signage indicating that intruders are not welcome. If a person is caught unauthorizedly entering a property that has a “no trespassing” or “private property” sign up, they will likely be charged with this offense.

Second-degree trespassing is classified as a class 3 misdemeanor. Upon a conviction, defendants will be subjected to a maximum of 20 days in jail and a $200 fine.

Domestic Criminal Trespass

As the name suggests, this type of trespassing commonly occurs amongst people in domestic relationships. People who were once married or in a relationship and have now split and live in separate residences are often charged with this offense. Essentially, domestic criminal trespass is charged when a person banned from a former partner's property enters or refuses to leave the property.

Due to the substantial likelihood of violence in these circumstances, domestic criminal trespass is categorized as a class 1 misdemeanor. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 days spent in a county jail and a discretionary fine.

North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

All forms of trespassing charges and convictions in North Carolina may result in time spent in a county jail and a costly fine. Not to mention that a trespassing charge could lead to the creation of a criminal record if this is your first run-in with law enforcement. The skilled attorneys at Caulder & Valentine have extensive experience representing clients who have been in your situation. Contact them today for a consultation.