Arizona Criminal Trespass Laws

In order to protect the interests of property owners from intruders, states generally prosecute the crime of criminal trespass. Usually, a person commits criminal trespass by ignoring a sign and entering a property illegally. In Arizona, criminal trespass is split up into first degree (the most severe with the harshest penalties), second degree, and third degree (the least severe with the least harsh penalties) crimes.

Arizona Criminal Trespass at a Glance

One common thread throughout all three degrees of criminal trespass in Arizona is how someone must unlawfully enter into (or remain on) someone else's property. The elements and penalties associated with the three degrees of criminal trespass in Arizona are covered in the below table.

Crime

Sentence

Criminal Trespass (First Degree) (Felony)

A person commits first degree criminal trespassing when an individual:

  • Enters or remains on a residential structure unlawfully.
  • Enters or remains on a person’s property and burns, defaces, or manipulates a religious symbol without the owner’s permission.
  • Enters or remains on a public services facility unlawfully.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1504

  • Class 6 Felony
  • Up to 18 months in prison
  • Up to $150,000 in fines

Criminal Trespass (First Degree) (Misdemeanor)

A person commits first degree criminal trespassing when an individual:

  • Enters or remains in a fenced residential yard.
  • Enters a residential yard and looks into the residential structure, violating the owner’s right to privacy.
  • Enters or remains on real property that has mineral claim and intends to hold, work, or take minerals from the claim or lease.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1504

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • $2,500 fine plus surcharges

Criminal Trespass (Second Degree) (Misdemeanor Only)

An individual commits criminal trespassing in the second degree when they:

  • Enter or remain on a nonresidential property or in any commercial fenced yard unlawfully.

 

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1503

  • Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 4 months in prison
  • Up to $750 in fines

Criminal Trespass (Third Degree) (Misdemeanor Only)

A person commits criminal trespassing in the third degree when a person:

  • Enters or remains unlawfully on any real property after the owner or any other person with lawful control over the property has asked you to leave.
  • Enters or remains unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, storage, switching yards, or rolling stock of a railroad company.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1502

  • Class 3 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 30 days in prison
  • Up to $500 in fines

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Potential Defenses to Trespass

A potential defense to criminal trespass in Arizona is if the person lacked the "intent" to trespass. In other words, the person accused of criminal trespass didn't mean to trespass upon another person's property, and did so by accident. To establish this, the accused trespasser must show that they were not aware that they were unlawfully entering someone else's property. For example, if a sign was not conspicuously posted in an area that can be easily seen by all, then a strong defense can be raised that someone merely wandered upon the property by accident and did not have the intent to trespass.

Another defense is when the accused trespasser actually has permission to be on the property, as an invited guest of the property owner, for example.

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As you can see, criminal trespass can carry serious penalties in Arizona if you are not careful. It may be especially difficult to tell what degree of criminal trespass is applicable in a specific case. If you want to learn more about the penalties or defenses associated with criminal trespass in Arizona, you can contact a local attorney for a free initial case review at no obligation today.

 

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