It is a crime to make a credible threat against a person or their immediate family to inflict serious bodily injury and then enter their workplace or home to execute the threat. Aggravated trespass is a wobbler, and you should not take your charges lightly. The felony or misdemeanor charges can have severe and life-altering consequences. If you have been charged with aggravated trespass, let a skilled Sacramento law Firm defend you. The attorney can work aggressively to ensure you obtain the most favorable case outcome that will not impede your future.
Defining Aggravated Trespass
California Penal Code Section 601 makes it an offense to threaten to harm a person physically before entering their workplace or home without their consent.
Before convicting you, the prosecutor should establish the following elements of the crime:
- You made credible threats to cause another person serious bodily injury.
- You made your threats intending to place somebody else in reasonable fear of their safety or that of their immediate family.
- Within thirty days of your threats, you illegally entered the individual’s home without a legal purpose intending to accomplish the threats, or within thirty days of your threats, you illegally entered the threatened individual’s workplace, knowing that where you entered belonged to the threatened person and attempted to locate the person without an illegitimate purpose intending to execute the threat.
Defining Legal Terms and Phrases
To gain an understanding of this statute, here is an in-depth definition of key legal phrases and terms:
- Cause the target to have a reasonable fear for their safety or that of immediate family, and
- You can execute them.
A credible threat can be written, oral, or electronic.
Moreover, a sequence of behavior or a combination of conduct and statements can constitute criminal threats.
Serious Bodily Injuries
Serious bodily injuries refer to severe impairments in physical conditions. The injury can be any of the following:
- Bone fractures.
- Wounds requiring extensive suturing.
- Severe disfigurement.
- Protracted impairment or loss of function on a body organ or member.
Immediate Family Members
Under PC 601, an immediate family member refers to a:
- Spouse or domestic partner.
- A sibling related by marriage or blood.
- An individual who regularly resides in your household.
When determining whether you planned to make the alleged victim fear for their safety, the judge will review the circumstances surrounding the criminal case. Some factors judges consider include the following:
- The defendant’s verbal messages.
- The accused’s behavior.
- Whether another person other than the defendant and victim was present.
- The victim’s reactions to the threats.
- The relationship between the alleged victim and the defendant.
- Previous encounters between the victim and the defendant.
Workplace or Residence
You cannot be found guilty of aggravated trespass if you entered your workplace or home intending to implement your threat.
For instance, Dante is Joyce’s boss, and Dante tells Joyce that she will no longer work on an assignment she has been preparing for and instead hire another person. Joyce becomes angry and threatens to kill him for messing her up. The following day, Joyce injures Dante at work. In this case, Joyce cannot be accused of PC 601 because she did not trespass to execute the criminal threat. Nevertheless, you can be charged with offenses like attempted murder or assault.
Penalties and Consequences of Aggravated Trespass
Penal Code Section 601 PC is a California wobbler. The prosecution team can charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case.
A misdemeanor carries the following penalties:
- Summary or misdemeanor probation.
- Two thousand dollars in fine.
- A year in jail.
A felony attracts the following potential penalties:
- Formal or felony probation.
- Three (3) years in jail.
- Ten thousand dollars in fine.
Aggravated Trespass Can Affect Your Firearm Rights
An aggravated trespass can negatively impact your firearm rights, depending on whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.
A felon cannot possess, buy, or own a gun in the Golden State.
An aggravated trespass conviction can lead to adverse immigration repercussions like being marked inadmissible or facing deportation.
Your status will be marked inadmissible if you are denied entry into the United States. On the contrary, deportation means being removed from the country.
How to Beat Aggravated Trespass Criminal Charges
Since every case is unique, your experienced defense lawyer should review your case facts to develop viable case facts. Some of the common legal defenses to PC 601 include the following:
You Did Not Make Credible Threats
One element of this crime is that you made credible threats to cause physical injury. It is, therefore, a legal strategy to prove that while you made the threat, it was incredible or not severe. For instance, you can claim that you threatened the alleged victim jokingly.
You Did not Intend to Cause Fear
You can also argue that while you made threats, you did not intend to cause them. For instance, you threatened to tickle someone else.
You Did Not Intend to Execute the Threat
It is a legal defense to argue that you did not act with the requisite intent to carry out your criminal threat.
For instance, you can claim that you entered a workplace or residence to apologize to the alleged victim.
Offenses Related to PC 601
Discussed below are crimes related to or charged alongside aggravated trespass.
California PC 602
Penal Code Section 602 is a statute that makes it a crime to remain on or enter another person’s property and act so without consent.
Criminal trespass is a California misdemeanor carrying six (6) months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Nevertheless, certain forms of trespass can result in criminal infraction charges punishable by a fine of $75 for your first offense.
California Burglary Under PC 459
PC 459 makes it a crime to enter a commercial or residential room or building intending to commit theft or a felony after entering. You can be charged with the crime regardless of whether you completed the intended crime.
Burglary is classified into the following categories:
- First-degree burglary — Burglary on a residential property.
- Second-degree burglary involves burglary in any other structure, including businesses and stores.
Residential burglary is a felony punishable by four years in state prison.
On the other hand, commercial burglary is a wobbler. A felony carries three years in jail, while a misdemeanor is punishable by a year.
Criminal Threats Under PC 422
Violating PC 422 is a wobbler. A misdemeanor attracts a year in jail, while a California felony attracts a four-year prison sentence.
Right to Speedy Trial
The United States Constitution guarantees defendants the entitlement to a speedy trial. It protects them from being detained or under suspicion indefinitely. California codified this right in PC 1382.
PC 1382 offers timeframe requirements for taking the accused to trial, including the following:
- The prosecutor should file formal charges against the accused within fifteen days of their arrest.
- For a misdemeanor, a trial should be scheduled within thirty to forty-five days of the arraignment.
- For a felony, a trial should be scheduled within sixty days of the arraignment.
The statutory limits seek to prevent the following problems for defendants caused by long delays between trial and arrest:
- Witnesses dying or relocating.
- Fading memories.
- Loss of physical evidence.
- To protect the defendant’s capability to defend themselves.
- To reduce the anxiety related to resolving the criminal case.
Moreover, you must be concerned about the negative impact of being detained or under suspicion for an extended period. It can entail damage to your reputation, relationships, and employment prospects.
Sometimes the court can extend the time limits under specific circumstances. The court can grant exemptions from the law under any of the following events:
- When you waive your speedy trial right or request another trial date.
- When the judge has “good cause” for delaying your trial date.
This entitlement starts on your arrest date or when the victim or charging documents have been brought against you.
Defining Request or Waiver for Delay
Sometimes it is wise to delay your trial date. For instance, you can waive your right or request another court trial date if your attorney requires time to build your defense or you are sick and want to recover.
Waiving your constitutional right also gives the prosecution team adequate time to build its case against you.
Finding a Good Cause
There are numerous reasons for posting your trial beyond these statutory time limits of Penal Code 1382, including:
- You are incapacitated and cannot defend yourself.
- The case circumstances are too complicated to process within the time frame.
- You have discovered new proof which should be included in your criminal case.
- A health emergency, a natural disaster, or extraordinary events make your speedy trial challenging.
What Occurs When the Prosecution Fails to Take You to Court?
Suppose the prosecution or court fails to take you to court trial within the required PC 1382 timeframe, and no exemption to this rule applies. In that case, your defense lawyer can file a Serna motion or speedy trial motion requesting the court dismiss your case based on your constitutional rights violation.
Then the court will schedule a court hearing to decide whether it is accurate and dismiss the case. The judge will consider the delay’s justification and whether you faced prejudice. You should prove the delay caused your harm.
Please note that filing the Serna motion is not a guarantee that the judge will dismiss your charges. If the motion is unsuccessful, your case will proceed to the criminal appeal process.
Why Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Claiming innocence cannot save you from the wrath of the criminal justice system. You risk facing incarceration and paying heavy fines when accused of aggravated trespass. Retaining legal representation increases your chances of obtaining a favorable case outcome, including dismissal.
The section below explores various reasons to seek legal representation:
You Need a Professional Legal Approach
You should take a criminal charge seriously and require a professional legal approach to meet any challenge head-on.
For instance, a professional approach by your legal counsel can come in handy when mediating between you and the alleged victim. You should not contact the victim on your own.
The bottom line is that you should leave your case to the experts.
Access to Resources that Can Build Your Defense
Your criminal defense attorney has the appropriate resources and expertise to fight for your rights. The lawyer can gather evidence, analyze evidence, interview witnesses, find gaps in the prosecutor’s case, and develop a viable legal defense strategy. They can also hire credible specialists who can help in specific circumstances. If your attorney is knowledgeable, you can count on them to effectively use these resources.
Saves Money and Time
Self-representation can be risky, costly, and time-consuming. While it might seem like you will save money by taking this approach, you should consider the consequences of losing your PC 601 criminal case. A self-representing defendant is always an easy target for the prosecution team since they do not have the knowledge, experience, resources, and connections to defend themselves. A defense lawyer will protect your freedom and rights and speed up the criminal judicial system.
Knows How to Navigate the Legal System
Your experienced lawyer understands the complicated California legal system and procedures, which can be instrumental in developing an effective defense strategy.
When fighting criminal charges, a lot of paperwork is essential. Your knowledgeable attorney understands court procedures and will ensure the case documents are accurately and timely filed. The courts and the prosecution are typically on the alleged victim’s side. The prosecutor will not hesitate to aggressively charge you, not forgetting the rigid deadlines, complex legal processes, and bottlenecks related to legal procedures that do not favor self-representing defendants.
Your Attorney Has Developed a Good Professional Relationship with the Prosecutor
Your seasoned defense attorney has a good relationship with the prosecution. The legal counsel can negotiate a favorable plea bargain offer and bond. Think of the lawyer as your spokesman who ensures satisfactory agreement terms with the prosecutor, the victim, and the law enforcement agencies.
While a positive relationship will not necessarily result in dismissal, it can neutralize the matter, particularly when negotiations are heated.
Find Skilled Legal Representation Near Me
Aggravated trespass can seem less severe, and most defendants often take it lightly. However, if convicted, you can face detrimental penalties and consequences, including a criminal record, fines, probation, and serving time. That is why you should seek the legal assistance of the Foos Gavin Law Firm. Our Sacramento legal team can offer you the professional, emotional, and legal support you require to face the daunting prospect of criminal charges and a trial. Contact us at 916-779-3500 to schedule a free criminal case evaluation.