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What is criminal trespass?

| Sep 21, 2020 | Firm News |

Your teenager may not see the harm in trespassing where he or she does not have permission to go. However, under the Georgia Code, as presented on Elaws, criminal trespass is a misdemeanor offense because it interferes with someone else’s property rights.

The charge of criminal trespass can include damage to property up to a certain value. However, your teen may face charges of criminal trespass even if no property damage takes place.

Unlawful entry

Criminal trespass involves entry onto a property, which may include watercraft, aircraft, railway cars or other vehicles as well as land, for an unlawful purpose. It can also involve remaining on the property when the owner has withdrawn permission for your teen to be there or entering the property after the owner has directly forbidden such entry.

Damage to property

The law expressly includes intentional damage to a memorial, grave marker or monument on private property as an example of criminal trespass. Otherwise, intentional damage to the owner’s property valued at $500 at most can also incur criminal trespass charges. If the value of the damage is more than $500, your teen may face other, more serious charges.

Right to consent

Your teen and his or her friends may run afoul of the law against criminal trespass by not understanding who has the right to give consent to a person’s presence on the property. If you are the owner and you have forbidden someone from the grounds, your teen does not have the right to overrule your decision. He or she is only an occupant of the property, not the owner, and the right to give or withhold consent still rests with you.

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