In Georgia, criminal trespass is a misdemeanor offense.  Most people think that criminal trespass is going onto property that you are not supposed to enter.  However, in Georgia criminal trespass can be causing damage to property in an amount less than $500.  Typically, criminal trespass charges will occur in domestic violence cases.  One person can get angry and break a door, glasses, or any other property.  It sounds crazy, but breaking items in your own home can lead to a charge of criminal trespass in Ga.  The police will investigate a call to a home and when they arrive, if items appear to be broken, oftentimes they will charge one of the parties with the crime. The legal definition of criminal trespass is found in O.C.G.A. § 16-7-21. An experienced defense attorney can use their expertise to help build a defense to criminal trespass charges in Georgia.

What is Criminal Trespass

A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally damages any property of another without consent of that other person and the damage  is $500.00 or less.  In addition to destroying property, criminal trespass can involve maliciously interfering with the possession or use of someone else’s property, without their consent. Criminal Trespass in Georgia also takes place if you remain on someone else’s property after being asked to leave the premises.

A minor child cannot grant permission to enter if the parent or guardian has previously denied entry to the visitor. A person who commits the offense of criminal trespass shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Lastly, criminal trespass can be charged if there is an accusation of defacing or defiling any grave marker, monument, or memorial to one or more deceased persons who served in the military service of this state or defacing  a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel.

The definition of criminal trespass is not always so clear.  Many people believe that they have the right to destroy their own property.  It defies logic why they do not.  However, most property in marital households or rental apartment complexes belong to other people or are owned jointly.  So, the State is able to get around privacy rights of ownership.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

When charged with criminal trespassing, a lawyer can oftentimes have the charges dismissed if the other party consents.  Typically, the other party wants to reimbursed for the damages that took place.  Many criminal trespass cases in Georgia result in diversion.  However, there are many cases where the prosecutor will be treating this very seriously.