Trespassing on School Grounds Case

December 18, 2022 Criminal Defense, Theft/Property Crimes

In the state of Florida, it is unlawful for any person to enter a school’s grounds or campus without permission. When entering a school, the person or visitor must first register with the administration. If a person fails to do so, they could potentially be charged with trespassing.

This article will provide an example case of trespassing, along with helpful information on charges for trespassing on school grounds in Florida.

Example Case

On December 12th, 2022, Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call around 11 am regarding a man who had trespassed onto the school campus of Central Charter School in Lauderdale Lakes.

According to the report, the security guard of the school was credited with detaining the suspect after spotting him on campus. When deputies arrived at the school, they soon discovered that the detained suspect was involved in a nearby robbery.

The Broward County school had been placed on a temporary lockdown due to the trespassing but was lifted after police made the arrest. The details regarding the suspect’s identity have not been released at this time.

Charges for Trespassing on School Grounds

Under Fla. Stat. § 810.097, Trespassing on school grounds is defined as any person who:

  • Does not have a legitimate reason or business to enter the school campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property; or
  • Is a student that is currently under suspension or expulsion;

Trespassing with no prior warning. Any person categorized in the two sections above who enters or remains on the campus or any other facility owned by any such school commits Trespass upon the grounds of a school facility and may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor has a penalty of up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

In other words, if a person enters a school without a legitimate purpose or permission, they automatically commit a second-degree misdemeanor.

Trespassing after a warning. A person who enters or remains upon the campus or other facility of a school after the principal of the school, or someone in the same authority, has directed said person to leave the campus or facility but fails to do so may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor has a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

This means that even if a person originally had authorization or a legitimate purpose, once they are asked to leave the school by a principal or someone with similar authority they must do so or face a first-degree misdemeanor.

Florida Statute section 810.095 codifies the law on trespassing on school grounds with a firearm or other prohibited weapon. A weapon is defined under Florida Statute section 790.001 as any of the following:

  • Knife
  • Dirk
  • Metallic knuckles
  • Slingshot
  • Tear gas gun
  • Chemical weapon or device
  • Or another deadly weapon

Firearms, plastic knives, blunt-bladed table knives, and common pocketknives are not considered weapons under this law.

The law explains that any person who trespasses on school property and has in their possession a weapon or firearm may be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. A third-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

To learn more about Trespass and what the prosecutor needs to prove for a conviction, head to our informative page here.

Defenses to Trespassing on School Grounds

A person who is charged with trespassing may feel as if they have no options in a criminal case. However, there are multiple defenses that can be used to contest a trespass charge. The following is a list of potential defenses to use for trespassing on school grounds:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Lack of sufficient proof
  • Defendant was not within the boundaries of the school property
  • Defendant had a legitimate purpose for being on school property
  • Defendant had a license or authorization to be on school property
  • Defendant had an implied invitation to be on school property
  • No prior warnings (if charged as a prior warning)

To figure out which defense is applicable to your case, work with a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, the first step should be to reach out to a skilled defense attorney. In a criminal case involving children such as trespassing on school grounds, the State is known to prosecute harshly. Getting convicted can result in high-priced fines and potential imprisonment.

Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience representing Floridians who have been accused of a crime. Our team will work tirelessly to form a strong defense for your case. Contact our team today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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