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Entering onto the property without authorization or after having been barred can result in a class one misdemeanor.


Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fairfax, VA? Have a Trespassing Charge?

The maximum penalty for this charge is

  • 12 months in jail and

  • a fine of up to $2,500

In addition, the court can include probation, a further court-ordered bar from the premises (which could result in a contempt charge and another conviction for subsequent offenses). This charge can have serious consequences-but the prosecution and law enforcement officers must have sufficient and specific evidence to prove their case and having a defense attorney will make sure they meet that burden.

To prove this case the prosecutor must show that:

A person without authority (permission) enters or remains on the property of another after having been forbidden to do so. This could have been done orally or in writing by:

  • The owner
  • The lessee
  • A custodian
  • Or agents of any such person
  • A person lawfully in charge thereof
  • A sign or signs posted by, or at the direction by, a person with the authority to bar access

Defenses to this charge:

Lack of notice: the charge requires that the accused be given notice that he is barred from the property.

Lack of Authority: the charge also requires that the accused can only be barred by a person who has the authority to bar.

§ 18.2-119. Trespass after having been forbidden to do so; penalties.If any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian, or the agent of any such person, or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by or at the direction of such persons or the agent of any such person or by the holder of any easement or other right-of-way authorized by the instrument creating such interest to post such signs on such lands, structures, premises or portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may be reasonably seen, or if any person, whether he is the owner, tenant or otherwise entitled to the use of such land, building or premises, goes upon, or remains upon such land, building or premises after having been prohibited from doing so by a court of competent jurisdiction by an order issued pursuant to §§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.2 through 16.1-278.6, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-278.15, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9 or § 19.2-152.10 or an ex parte order issued pursuant to § 20-103, and after having been served with such order, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not be construed to affect in any way the provisions of §§ 18.2-132 through 18.2-136.

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