California Criminal Trespass & Trespassing Laws

Entering onto private property without having the owner’s permission is defined as trespassing. You must know that trespassing is illegal in all states including California. There are a number of defenses which you can use when you are charged with criminally trespassing.

California Trespassing Law


Trespassing is possible in various ways. One of the commonly known ways of trespassing is when you trespass with intention to cause any type of damage. Penal Code 602 (c) throws light on trespassing. There are some other instances of trespassing such as when someone refuses to leave the property or plans to occupy the land without permission. California Penal Code 602 (m) explains a case of an individual who tries to occupy the property against the will of the owner.


Accused person has nothing to do with the activities occurring on the private property when he was trespassing, is a valid defense. It is not wrong to say that the definition of trespass is incomplete without the act of interfering with property owner’s exclusive use. Remember you are not guilty of trespassing, if are not affecting the property owner’s right to use the land.


You are not guilty of trespassing if you have consent of the owner to be on the property. In other words we can say that if you have the permission of the owner to be on the property, nobody including owner of the property can charge you with trespass.

Exclusive Rights

According to the law of the state, trespasser cannot invade the owner’s exclusive right of possession. You are not guilty of trespassing if your stay is for a brief moment and you are not affecting the exclusive right of the owner to use his property. But you are accused of trespassing if you stay for a longer period of time and you disrupt the exclusive right of possession of property of the owner.


If you are found guilty of trespassing, you may have to face 3 types of punishments depending on your case. Firstly, there may be jail sentence of 6 months and one thousand dollar fine for the 1st level of punishment. Secondly, Infraction occurs when you ignore a no-trespass sign. Thirdly, you will have to face a felony charge, if you threaten harm on someone on the property.