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Degrees of Criminal Trespassing

We often see signs on commercial and residential properties that warn us not to trespass, but what happens if we decide to ignore a sign and enter a property illegally?

If you are caught, you can be charged with criminal trespassing.

In Arizona, criminal trespassing is classified as first, second, or third degree, with first being the most extreme. No matter what the degree, a trespass charge is serious, but with the help of the Mesa defense lawyers at JacksonWhite, a trespassing charge doesn’t have to derail your life.

Have you been charged with criminal trespassing in Arizona?

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The definitions and statutes of the three degrees of criminal trespassing in Arizona are listed below:

Criminal Trespassing in the First Degree

A.R.S. 13-1504 – Criminal Trespassing in the First Degree states:

A person commits first degree criminal trespassing when an individual:

  1. Enters or remains on a residential structure unlawfully.
  2. Enters or remains in a fenced residential yard.
  3. Enters a residential yard and looks into the residential structure, violating the owner’s right to privacy.
  4. Enters or remains on real property that has mineral claim and intends to hold, work, or take minerals from the claim or lease.
  5. Enters or remains on a person’s property and burns, defaces, or manipulates a religious symbol without the owner’s permission.
  6. Enters or remains on a public services facility unlawfully.

A person who violates paragraphs 1, 5, or 6 of the criminal code A.R.S. 13-1504 is guilty of a class 6 felony. A person who violates paragraphs 2, 3, or 4 of the criminal code is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. The possible penalties for criminal trespassing in the first degree can be found below.

Misdemeanor Penalties

Imprisonment: No more than 6 months in jail.

Fine: Not to exceed $2,500.

Felony Penalties

Imprisonment: No more than 18 months in jail.

Fine: Not to exceed $150,000.

Criminal Trespassing in the Second Degree

A.R.S. 13-1503 – Criminal Trespassing in the Second Degree states:

An individual commits criminal trespassing in the second degree when they:

  1. Enter or remain on a nonresidential property or in any commercial fenced yard unlawfully.

Someone who commits trespassing in the second degree is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

Imprisonment: No more than 4 months in jail.

Fine: Not to exceed $750.

Criminal Trespassing in the Third Degree

A.R.S. 13-1502 – Criminal Trespassing in the Third Degree states:

A person commits criminal trespassing in the third degree when a person:

  1. Enters or remains unlawfully on any real property after the owner or any other person with lawful control over the property has asked you to leave.
  2. Enters or remains unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, storage, switching yards, or rolling stock of a railroad company.

Criminal trespassing in the third degree is a class 3 misdemeanor.

Imprisonment: No more than 30 days in jail.

Fine: Not to exceed $500.

criminal trespass arizona

Arizona “No Trespassing” Sign Requirements

There are no explicit requirements for “no trespassing” signs in the state of Arizona, and as detailed above, a no trespassing sign need not be present for a trespassing violation to occur. If a property owner wishes to display a sign, even a simple sign that reads “no trespassing” or “keep out” is sufficient as the law only mentions “reasonable notice prohibiting entry” in regard to signs.

However, within the City of Phoenix, property owners may submit an “authority to arrest” form. This grants police officers permission to patrol the property and arrest trespassers. Per the terms of the power granted by the city, authority-to-arrest property owners must display a no trespassing sign at all reasonable entrances and at regular intervals on the property boundary. The City of Phoenix recommends these signs be at least 16″ x 24″, specifically mention the A.R.S. 1502 trespassing law, and appear in both English and Spanish languages.

Get Help with Your Criminal Trespassing Case

If you have been arrested for one of the criminal trespassing charges listed above, contact the experienced defense team at JacksonWhite Law.


Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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