Trespassing Laws and Penalties in Arizona


  • Author David Cantor
  • Published August 3, 2016
  • Word count 745

In Arizona, the crime of trespassing is committed when a person knowingly advances onto or into someone else’s property after being expressly asked to leave. This is according to ARS 13-1502, ARS 13-1503 and ARS 13-1504. Trespass can occur when a person enters a property or remains there without the owner’s permission. When a sign warns against trespassing onto or into the property, the crime is also being committed if the sign is ignored.

There are multiple degrees of trespass according to Arizona law:

  • First degree criminal trespass:
  • When a person advances into or remains within a residential structure or yard while looking into the structure with no regard for the privacy of individuals inside, or

  • When a person is on the property without claim for work, holding or investigation of minerals on that property, or

  • When a person remains in or advances into a public service facility in an unlawful way or damages the property

  • Second degree criminal trespass:
  • When a person unlawfully goes into or remains on a non-residential building or fenced in commercial yard
  • Third degree criminal trespass:
  • When a person has been ordered by an individual in control of property or the owner to leave, but that person refuses to do so, or

  • When a person violates a sign warning trespassers

--- Arizona Penalties for Trespassing ---

Trespass in Arizona can result in a variety of punishments:

  • First degree trespass conviction as a class six felony
  • This is often the result of unlawful entering or remaining on a residential property or critical public service facility. It can also be the result of defacing religious artifacts.

  • This conviction results in probation plus a range of zero to one year of jail time or prison time from four months to two years for first-time offenders.

  • With one prior felony conviction, an individual convicted of this crime will serve prison for nine months to two years and nine months.

  • With two prior felony convictions, a range of two years and three months to five years and nine months of prison time are ordered.

  • First degree trespass conviction as a class one misdemeanor
  • This trespass offense involves entering or remaining on a fenced property while observing others or illegally mining.

  • Punishment is probation with zero days to six months of time in jail, plus a fine of up to $2500 and a surcharge of 84 percent.

  • Second degree criminal trespass is a class two misdemeanor
  • Punishment is probation with up to four months of jail time, plus a fine of $750 with 80 percent surcharge
  • Third degree criminal trespass is a class three misdemeanor
  • Punishment is probation and as many as 30 days in jail, plus a possible fine with 80 percent surcharge.

--- Defense for Trespass in Arizona ---

When a skilled attorney defends an individual charged with trespass, the most important issue is proving that the defendant did not purposefully commit a crime. The lawyer must prove that the issue was a misunderstanding, with the defendant not realizing he or she could not be on the property or remain there.

A second possible defense is that the person ordering the defendant to leave the property was without authority to do so, not being the owner or responsible party of the property.

The defense attorney will also have to introduce evidence of the defendant’s positive character, while also establishing that the individual asking the defendant to leave is typically over-reactive.

An additional method of defending trespass defendants is that of violation of Miranda rights. In Arizona, as in other parts of the country, a citizen must be advised of his or her rights when being arrested. If the defendant was denied the right to speak with their attorney after being taken into custody, the denial of right to counsel defense can be asserted.

Finally, forensic flaws can be proven in order to defend the individual charged with trespass.

--- Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You Fight Trespass Charges ---

When you are arrested on trespass charges, you need to immediately secure the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and our law firm is AV® rated with the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®. Call (602) 307-0808 anytime day or night for a free case review or use the confidential email form to request a consultation with the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor.

Charged with Trespassing in Arizona? Contact the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor, voted one of the best law firms in Arizona. Our criminal defense attorneys can help defend these charges against you.

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