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Understanding Trespassing

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In the State of California, the legal definition of trespassing can be very confusing or difficult for people to understand.  However, California Penal Code § 602(k) is the relevant statute that businesses and property owners should refer to when encountering trespass on their property.

According to California Penal Code § 602(k), trespassing is defined as “Entering any lands, whether unenclosed or enclosed by fence, for the purpose of injuring any property or property rights or with the intention of interfering with, obstructing, or injuring any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner of the land, the owner's agent, or by the person in lawful possession.”

Penalties for Trespassing

Every person who willfully commits a trespass by any of the acts listed in Section 602 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Common Acts of Trespassing

The most common acts that are prohibited by California trespassing laws include, but are not limited to:

  • Entering someone else's property with the intent to damage that property,
  • Entering someone else's property with the intent to interfere with or obstruct the business activities that are conducted there,
  • Entering and occupying another person's property without permission, and
  • Refusing to leave the property after being asked to do so.