What Is Considered Criminal Trespass in Texas?

November 16th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Misdemeanor criminal charges often start with a minor scuffle or incident that escalates once the police are called. In many cases you may have committed a misdemeanor without fully realizing it. For example, if you are told to leave someone’s home and fail to do so with a “reasonable time,” you can be charged with criminal trespass, which a Class B misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code.

Defendant Convicted After Refusing to Leave Man’s House

Here is a recent example of this law in practice. On November 5, a Texas appeals court upheld the misdemeanor trespass conviction of a man from Taylor County. The defendant appeared one night at the home of the accuser, who was inside with the defendant’s estranged wife (the couple later divorced). According to the accuser, the defendant parked his car in front of the house and kept honking his horn and “just raising Cain.”

The accuser said he went outside, banged on the defendant’s car window, and told him to “get out of here.” The accuser said the defendant refused to comply. Instead, the defendant made a number of threats and “colorful” statements. The defendant then entered the accuser’s house “with his hand cocked back in a fist,” according to the accuser. The accuser then tried to hit the defendant with a baseball bat. The defendant took the bat and hit the accuser on the forehead. Eventually, the accuser said he managed to force the defendant out of his house after telling him to leave at least four times.

The defendant offered a slightly different account of what transpired. He said he went to the house because he believed the accuser was having an affair with his wife. He said he simply “wanted their attention” when he showed up uninvited. The defendant maintained it was the accuser who made the first aggressive move by threatening to shoot him. The defendant said the accuser then attacked him with a bat as he was trying to leave.

The jury believed the accuser’s story and convicted the defendant of Class B misdemeanor trespass. The appeals court upheld the verdict. It noted that under the Penal Code, it is trespass when the defendant “received notice to depart but failed to do so.” Here, the accuser testified he told the defendant to leave at least four times, and in response the defendant refused and issued threats. The jury was free to believe the accuser’s testimony over that of the defendant, and this was enough to conclude that the defendant failed to depart the accuser’s premises after receiving adequate notice.

Speak with a Houston Misdemeanor Crimes Defense Lawyer Today

Even a Class B misdemeanor conviction can land you in jail for up to 6 months. This is why you can never take such charges lightly, even if you think the underlying incident was simply a misunderstanding. If you have been charged with any kind of misdemeanor crime and need legal representation from an experienced Galveston or League City criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. Call (281) 280-0100 . 

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