You Got Kicked Out of a Bar and Were Arrested When You Went Back - You May not be Guilty!
It’s an easy thing to happen. You got into an argument with someone in a bar who was annoying you. There wasn’t any violence, but the bar manager told you to leave. Fair enough.
You weren’t keen on staying anyway. But then you find you left your wallet behind at the bar and go back to collect it. At the bar, a bouncer grabs hold of you and the bar manager calls the police. A police officer turns up and listens to what both you and the bar manager have to say. You get the wallet back and are told by the officer not to return.
Then an hour later, you discover that the wallet wasn’t the only thing you left behind. In the heat of the moment, you left your cell phone behind when you picked up your wallet. You go back and just outside the bar see the same bouncer and tell him you have left the phone behind.
There is a loud discussion whether you can get it back or not and the same police officer returns and arrests you for ‘trespass after warning.’ You have never heard of this before and are wondering whether an attorney can help defend you against what you think an unjustified arrest.
Explaining trespass after warning
Basically, a trespass occurs when you enter a building without the owner’s (or their representative’s) permission. Obviously, if you go to a store, a supermarket or a bar, assuming they are open to the public at the time, you cannot be accused of trespass just by being inside!
However, if you have been told to leave the building, then it can be assumed that you don’t have permission to re-enter it sometime later. If you are caught inside this building after being warned not to return, then you could be committing a crime of trespass after warning as stated by Florida Statute § 810.08.
Potential penalties for trespass
Someone who enters an empty building without permission may be convicted of a 2nd degree misdemeanor and face a period in a county jail of up to 60 days.
If the building is occupied (as in the bar example above), then this could amount to a 1st degree misdemeanor and if convicted the trespasser may face jail time in a county jail of up to a year.
If the person was armed on entry, then this could be considered a felony in the 3rd degree with up to five years in a state prison imposed on conviction.
Defense against trespass
There are two ways a defense against trespass after warning can be mounted:
1. The alleged offense did not actually take place inside the building where the warning took place. Florida law is quite specific about what constitutes a building.
If there is a fence or wall or something similar around the building, then any entry past that barrier is considered a potential trespass. If the arrest took place on the sidewalk outside the building then the ‘crime’ could not have occurred because the sidewalk is public property.
2. For a misdemeanor trespass after warning to occur, the arrest must be made by an officer who has actually seen the person inside the building where the warning was given. In the example given above, the person trying to recover his cell phone stopped outside the bar and was arrested there. This cannot constitute a valid arrest as the arrest did not take place by an officer who had seen the person actually inside the bar.
If arrested for trespass, you cannot be convicted unless the evidence available shows ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that you committed the offense. It is your right to be represented by an attorney.
A highly experienced Miami criminal defense attorney like Albert Quirantes knows the law inside out and will be able to vigorously defend you if you have been arrested for something you have not done.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.