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What constitutes criminal trespassing in California

Under California Penal Code Section 602.8, anyone found to have knowingly committed a willful trespass is deemed to be guilty of a misdemeanor. That being said, the crime of criminal trespass can happen under a variety of circumstances.

An individual can be found guilty of trespassing if he or she cuts down, destroys, removes or damages timber or wood on someone else's land. Digging up any earth, soil or stones on another's property and leaving with them is similarly prohibited. The tearing down of signs, notices or postings on another person's property, including the property of a city, town, state, county or village is also considered to be in violation of trespassing laws.

Additionally, all individuals are forbidden from entering onto any piece of land where signs are clearly posted forbidding trespassing without prior consent of the owner or legal occupant. If there are any animals being raised or bred on the land, then individuals are prohibited from taking those animals without prior approval of the owner or occupant as well.

Furthermore, it is illegal to remove, damage or destroy any fences, marks, signs or stakes used in establishing land boundaries. As for building fires, it is seen as a violation of the aforementioned statute to start any fire on the land owned by another person.

Under Section 670 of the Vehicle Code, any individual is prohibited from driving his or her vehicle onto land not open to the general public without the consent of the owner, agent or individual in lawful possession of the property as well. Despite this, in order to be held in violation of the above statute, a minimum of three trespass signs per mile must be displayed along the exterior boundaries of the land tract.

If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal trespass, an Orange County, California, theft and property crimes attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.

Source: FindLaw.com, "California penal code section 602," accessed March 10, 2017

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