Penal Code 601 - Aggravated Trespassing
This is an interesting one. You don't see it charged very often, but it's a serious charge typically related to domestic violence. It could potentially be charged as a felony. Most times when you're talking about a trespassing allegation, it's a misdemeanor and you're really not looking at much punishment — usually some sort of a fine. Aggravated trespassing is covered under California Penal Code 601.
A lot of time we can even get it moved down to an infraction. But, when you threaten somebody and within thirty days of that threat you go to that person's workplace for example, law enforcement is now thinking that you're going to do something to that person — you're going to hurt them – and you might have a criminal protective order issued against you.
Obviously, the threat has to be credible, but this is where this aggravated trespassing is coming on because normally going to somebody's workplace, most workplaces are open to the public, so if somebody were to go there that wouldn't be unlawful, but if you've threatened somebody in addition to going to their workplace, now we think that you're up to no good; you're looking to hurt that person, seriously injure them or something worse. So, that's where they've come up with this aggravated trespassing.
A lot of times though, I don't really see this filed because they're going to get you for some other more-serious crime. For example, if you threaten somebody and it' to do some sort of bodily injury to them or one of their family members or a friend, then they're going to charge you with Penal Code Section 422 which is criminal threat. That's a strike and you'll be looking at serious time in custody for something like that. So, they don't really need the aggravated trespassing.
In my opinion, Penal Code Section 601 is one of those gap crimes, meaning if they can't get you for Penal Code Section 422, the criminal threats — maybe they can get you for this aggravated trespassing. If they could still get the felony, you could still be looking at prison time if your activities are serious enough.
Really, what the legislature has done is, they have bowed down to those people who have been complaining about people threatening them and gaining an advantage over them and scaring them, so they've come up with all of these crimes that protect people from being threatened, from being bullied, from being manipulated, and this aggravated trespassing is one of those crimes.
I've been doing this for over twenty-five years and I've almost never seen this charged because there are other cries that will usually cover this area more effectively than aggravated trespassing; however, they will charge it if they think that it fits squarely with the elements of this crime and they can't get the person for some other crime.
Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney
So, this is definitely one if you're charged with aggravated trespassing, you're going to want to hire an attorney, not only because you're looking at custody time and a felony on your record, but because it's a serious situation and you don't want to be in a position where you don't properly defend yourself and then end up with the worst result than if you would have defended yourself.
Maybe you can get the case dismissed. Maybe you can get it mitigated down to something less, but without an attorney who knows what they're doing who can maneuver their way through the system, you're in a real weak position and not likely to get the result that you want.
What I have you do if you're charged with one of these charges is have you come in and we go over everything and lay it all out on the table under the privacy of the attorney/client privilege and then we can start making some strategy decisions on how we're going to move forward with your case in a successful manner.