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Charlotte Criminal Trespass Lawyer

Difference Between Trespassing and Criminal Trespassing in North Carolina

Trespassing is intentionally entering or remaining on another’s property without permission. Accidentally entering a property is not criminal intent, but if there is a “no trespassing” sign posted, you could still face criminal charges.

In North Carolina, criminal trespass laws are classified as either first- or second-degree trespass. First-degree trespass is entering or remaining in an enclosed, secured property that is intended to keep intruders out or in a building owned by another person. An individual may be charged with second-degree trespass for entering or remaining in a property when there is a “no trespassing” notice posted or remaining after being notified not to enter by the owner or occupant of the building.

Types of Trespassing Crimes in NC

  • Burglary
  • Trespassing
  • Domestic criminal trespass
  • Injury to personal property
  • Misdemeanor breaking or entering

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 difference between each kind of trespassing is the severity of punishment for each. At Jetton & Meredith, our Charlotte trespassing attorneys represent clients accused of criminal trespass in Mecklenburg County.

If you have been accused of criminal trespass, call (704) 931-5535 for a consultation with one of our Charlotte trespassing lawyers.

Second-Degree Trespassing in NC

Second-degree trespassing is the least severe kind. 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 the 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 in NC

In NC, first-degree trespassing 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
  2. Present in the building of another
  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 in NC

Misdemeanor trespassing in North Carolina 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 in NC

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 the execution of a valid order or writ for possession.
  2. The offense occurred under color of the 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.

Although first- and second-degree trespass are both misdemeanors, there are situations that can elevate the charges. In some situations, the charges can be elevated to a felony. It is in your best interests to avoid any criminal record. If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, our trespassing crimes lawyers in Charlotte can help you understand how the law applies to your situation.

Please contact us at (704) 931-5535 to discuss your case with one of our Charlotte trespassing attorneys.

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