Trespassing in North Carolina

Trespassing in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the term trespassing carries several different connotations and possible repercussions. North Carolina differentiates between four different types of trespassing for the purposes of criminal actions. It is very important to know the differences and know the particulars of each. The main differences between each kind of trespassing is the severity of punishment for each.

  • SECOND DEGREE TRESPASSING - This first kind of trespassing is the least severe. It is proven by showing that the person remained or entered into the premises without permission, after being told not to be there, or being reasonably warned that they would not have permission. This can be broken down into three basic elements:
  1. Being present in an area,
  2. After being reasonably warned (by signs for example) or personally told not to be there,
  3. Without permission or other justification.

Second degree trespassing is punished as a class 3 misdemeanor, the lowest level available. For class 3 misdemeanors, only those offenders who have the highest level of prior record is jail time even an option, while for first time offenders, the court may only levy a fine against them.

  • FIRST DEGREE TRESPASSING - This is proven if the government can show that without permission or justification, the defendant was:
  1. Present on the premises of another, so enclosed or secured as to clearly show the intent to keep out other people, or,
  2. Present in the building of another, or,
  3. Present on the lands of the people of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians after being excluded by resolution by the Tribal Council.

First degree trespassing is punished as a class 2 misdemeanor. It is important to note that while first time offenders charged with this kind of trespassing cannot be sent to jail for an active sentence, they are not guaranteed to only receive a fine. For this class of misdemeanor, one may receive supervised probation, even for a first offense.

  • MISDEMEANOR TRESPASSING – This kind of trespassing is proven considering the same elements as first degree trespassing, but the trespassing takes place at an electric facility, water treatment facility, natural gas facility, or certain types of agricultural facilities. This type of trespassing is punished as an A1 misdemeanor, meaning that even if it’s the first offense, an active sentence is possible. Also, A1 misdemeanors cannot be expunged under current North Carolina law.
  • FELONY TRESPASSING - Is proven if the trespassing occurs in any of the facilities mentioned under the A1 misdemeanor section, but also with the intent to disrupt the operation of those facilities, or if the offense of trespassing placed the offender or anyone else at risk of serious bodily injury. This, the most severe form of trespassing, carries a mandatory $1,000.00 fine, and is proven by showing one of three things:
  1. The person has re-entered the premises after execution of a valid order or writ for possession.
  2. The offense occurred under color of title where the defendant knowingly created or provided materially false evidence of possession.
  3. A second or subsequent offense involving the lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Each of these kinds of trespassing is very specific and it is important to know the specifics of each individual case involving trespassing. If you have a trespassing case or have questions about trespassing, contact us today to consult with one of our knowledgeable Criminal Defense attorneys.


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