It can be devastating to face trespassing charges when caught on someone’s property, especially when you didn’t mean to cause any harm.


However, the good thing is that you can always defend yourself with the help of a good criminal lawyer.


In this guide, we will take you through the following to help you understand trespassing in Florida:


  • The meaning of trespassing according to the Florida statutes
  • Main types of trespassing and the penalties
  • The common defenses for trespassing in Florida
  • Court dropping a trespassing charge.


We will also discuss how our criminal law firm can help you with your trespass charge.


Let’s get deeper for more details.

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What Is Trespassing In Florida?

Trespassing is a severe criminal offense in Miami, Florida.

The Florida state law defines trespassing as the willful entrance to someone’s personal property without asking for their permission or getting the authorization/ licensing needed to get into the property.

The law also defines trespassing as getting permission to enter a person’s property but refusing to get out even when the property owner asks you to leave.

There are multiple categories of trespass, and the fine varies according to the type of trespass.

What are the main types of trespass and their penalties?

The Florida law recognizes the following types of trespass:

  • Trespass on property
  • Trespass on structure or conveyance
  • Trespass on school grounds with prohibited weapons

Trespass On School Grounds

Under Florida 810.095, a trespass to school grounds happens when someone enters the school grounds without authorization.

A student under suspension who enters the school might be charged with trespassing as well.

Florida considers trespass on school grounds as a second-degree misdemeanor. However, the case becomes a third-degree misdemeanor when the defendant is armed with prohibited firearms.

The following penalties apply to this type of trespass:

  • Up to 6 months in probation
  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 trespassing fine

If caught with firearms, the fine goes up to $5000, and possibly five years in probation or jail.

Trespass On Property

Under Florida 810.09, trespass on property happens when someone gets into another person’s land without authorization.

When convicted of this type of trespass, the judge may issue any or a combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to 6 months in probation
  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 fine

Charges may increase to $5000 in fine or five years in probation and jail if the accused:

  • Is armed with dangerous tools
  • Harms animals within property
  • The property is under construction or is used for the agriculture research and testing process

Trespass On Structure or Conveyance

Under Florida 810.08, trespass in structure or conveyance happens when someone enters or remains in another person’s structure or conveyance without the owner’s authorization.

A conveyance can be a ship, motor vehicle, aircraft, trailer, or sleeping vehicle.

Trespassing in an empty structure or conveyance attracts the following penalties:

  • Up to 6 months in probation
  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 trespassing fine

If the structure or conveyance is occupied, the charges increase to 12 months in jail or probation, fines worth $1000.

The charges can further increase to up to five years in probation or jail and $5000 fines if the accused was armed with firearms or dangerous tools.

What Are The Common Defenses For Trespassing In Florida?


An experienced criminal lawyer should evaluate your case and identify the possible defenses. Here are common defenses that can apply to your trespassing case in Florida:

Lack of Presence

This is the most common defense that applies to people who did not trespass.

For instance, security cameras may have captured someone else who looks like you. Or, the property owner may have seen another person who looks at you.

In this case, your lawyer can use the ‘lack of presence’ defense and proof that you were not there at the time of trespass.

Lack of Notice

Maybe, you didn’t know trespass is not allowed in that property. This happens when the property does not have any notice for “no trespassing.”

According to Florida law, private property owners should have no trespassing signs if they do not want anyone to pass through the property.

The property owner should:

  • Ensure the sign is visible for everyone to read and understand it
  • Place the sign at the entry point of the property
  • Keep the signs less than 500 meters apart (if the signs are many)

So if the property didn’t have trespassing charges, the court might assume that you (the defendant) were not aware.

No Departure Notices

This notice applies where the property owner allowed you in but did not tell you when to leave. Maybe, you assumed that it was okay for you to stay in the property longer. Your lawyer might argue that you didn’t have a departure notice.

Private or Public Necessity

Private necessity applies when you trespass on the property to protect someone else (or yourself) from serious injuries or death.

Life preservation is more important than property rights.

Public necessity applies when the trespass is triggered by an act of good faith to the property. For instance, to turn off a fire that could have affected the entire community.

Is It Possible For A Florida Court To Drop A Trespassing Charge?

Yes, a court can drop a trespassing case due to varying reasons:

Reason 1: The Property Owner Drops the Case

The property owner where the trespassing took place might issue a notice to the court that the damage has been satisfied.

In that case, the court can drop the case. However, this is a rare scenario because the state (and not the individual) is responsible for bringing down criminal offenses such as trespassing in Florida.

Reason 2: Lack of Enough Evidence

The arresting officer should witness the trespassing case. So, if the officer did not witness the case and there is no evidence, the court can drop the case.

Our Lawyers Can Help

Trespass cases are pretty common in Miami, Florida.

If you have been charged with a trespass case in Florida, contact us for a free consultation.

Our lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. (Miami) are here to help you take the necessary steps to have the charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

You can also visit our offices (18851 NE 29th Avenue, Suite 750 Aventura, FL 33180) in Miami, Florida, for quicker help.

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