Difference Between Trespassing And Criminal Trespassing
Civil trespass, more commonly known as just trespassing, is a violation of personal property rights and not a crime and usually comes with a fine or community service.
In most states in the US criminal trespass is a criminal offence and is a punishable under the law. The punishment for criminal trespass may include fine or imprisonment for six months or both.
Difference Between Trespassing and Criminal Trespassing:
Civil Trespass: Civil trespassing is illegal intrusion into another’s property or structure, even if no harm is done to the property or person. Once trespassed is proved, the trespasser is usually held legally responsible for any damages resulting, regardless of whether the trespass was done intentionally or unintentionally. Civil trespass is a minor offence, and someone convicted for civil trespass can be left with warning or nominal fine.
There are many methods by which a landowner can use to prevent trespassing, usually depending on the terrain, risk, importance, size or location of the property. Some of the most common and basic methods include: Barbed wire, planting warning signs and symbols, fencing the private area or deploying security personnel outside the gate or compound.
Criminal Trespass: While the definition of criminal trespass vary from state to state, a person commits the crime of "criminal trespass" when he/she enters or remains on another's property without his consent. Besides this when trespass involves violence or injury to a person or property, it is always considered criminal, and penalties may be increased for more serious or malicious acts. In some jurisdiction landowners have to prove criminal intent in order to prosecute him under the criminal trespass law.
Some states consider a trespass criminal only if the defendant gains unlawful entry into building or occupied structure where he is not licensed or privileged to do so. The unlawful entry into another’s premise may be with an intention to disrupt office work, theft or arson. Some states specify that a trespass is not criminal until after a warning, either in words or by posted signs and symbols, has been given to the trespassers. In most states criminal trespass is punishable by fine, restitution to the victim, community service or with imprisonment. These penalties may be enhanced if the trespasser has caused significant damage to the property.
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