Criminal Trespass

The Law

A person commits criminal trespass if he or she enters or remains on or in property, including an aircraft or other vehicle, of another without effective consent or he or she enters or remains in a building of another without effective consent and he or she:

  • had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
  • received notice to depart but failed to do so.

“Entering,” for criminal trespass, means the intrusion of the entire body, not just a part of the body. Notice can be by several different means:

  • oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;
  • fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;
  • a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden;
  • the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are:
    • vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width;
    • placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground or more than five feet from the ground; and
    • placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than 100 feet apart on forest land or 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land; or
  • the visible presence on the property of a crop grown for human consumption that is under cultivation, in the process of being harvested, or marketable if harvested at the time of entry.


If an individual commits the crime of criminal trespass, the punishment can range from a class C misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. Several different facts and circumstances determine the range of punishment, and every case needs to be analyzed on its individual basis.


An individual must have notice that he or she is not allowed on the property. There may be notice on the property at some location, but not at another location that effectively gives notice to a potential trespasser. Notice can be explicit or constructive. An owner can explicitly inform an individual he is prohibited from entering the property. A fence can constructively give notice to an individual that they are prohibited from entering the property. Overall, notice is a crucial element of trespass and therefore it is important to analyze the method notice was given.


The exact language of this law, further details, and additional punishment concerns can be found in section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code. None of this information can take place of the information, knowledge, and expertise provided by a licensed attorney.

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