Criminal Trespassing Laws in GeorgiaWritten on April 21, 2014
Criminal Trespassing in Georgia covers a wide range of circumstances and scenarios. It’s not always black and white. There are a number of subsections related to this area of the law. Let’s start at the beginning:
The first part of the law code, and one which frequently leads to arrest, states that a person commits the offense of criminal trespass if he or she intentionally damages the property of another without consent of that other person, and if the damage is less than $500. This is a misdemeanor charge. Notice that the word ‘intentionally’ is included in the wording. The intent is critical in the application of this law.
A person can be arrested in their own home if they damage property in the home or interfere with another’s property, as it relates to ownership or possession. That isn’t something most people think of when they hear “criminal trespass,” but that is how the law is written. If the damage to property exceeds $500, the charge would be Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree, which is a felony.
We have all seen “No Trespassing” signs posted on fences and trees. The message set forth by the sign is fairly clear. The owner of the property doesn’t want anybody on their land without permission. But what about if there isn’t a posted sign or a clear indication of where a property begins and another ends?
The law in Georgia states that the offense of criminal trespass is committed when a person enters upon the land or premises of another person, for an unlawful purpose. In Georgia, a person’s vehicle, aircraft or watercraft are considered an extension of the home and are therefore covered under this section of the legal code. The key here is the intent “for an unlawful purpose”. Simply wandering onto somebody’s property while taking a walk will provide a solid defense, if you are cited or arrested. This is a case that The Silverbach Group can assist you with.
The next subsection of the code sheds a little more light on things. If a person has been told to leave somebody’s property (which can also include a business) and remains there, that person may be arrested for criminal trespass. The code also covers “notice from the owner” when entry is forbidden. It’s not so easy to claim ignorance if you stroll past a “No Trespassing” sign.
To summarize: If they tell you to leave, it’s always best to leave. If they tell you not to come in, it’s best not to go in. In either case, The Silverbach Group can provide help and guidance in any case involving laws of trespassing in Georgia.