I. PC 555: Trespassing on Posted Property
PC 555: “It is unlawful to enter or remain upon any posted property without the written permission of the owner, tenant, or occupant in legal possession or control thereof. Every person who enters or remains upon posted property without such written permission is guilty of a separate offense for each day during any portion of which he enters or remains upon such posted property.
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 555 the prosecution must show that:
- You entered or remain upon posted property;
- You did so without the written permission of the property owner, tenant, or occupant in legal possession.
II. What does this mean?
The basis of this charge is to avoid people being on a property that is not theirs, without the owner’s consent. The need for a crime like this is to avoid much bigger, worse crimes, such as someone trespassing with the intent to commit a Burglary. If police stop you while you are on the property without the consent of the owner, they can always arrest you for trespassing, even if you have further, evil intentions to commit a worse crime.
What makes this crime different than normal Trespassing, is that it involves a Posted Sign that is visible to you upon entering the property. Even if you don’t see the sign, you can still be arrested for this.
A violation under PC 555 is a misdemeanor-only offense. If convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to 6 months or 180 days in a County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also face a stay-away order from the area, as well as possible Restraining Order from the owners of the location on top of this. You could also be fined up to $1000 for a conviction.
PC 555 is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. You could potentially face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States, since if you have more than one misdemeanor conviction on your record already.
IV. Common Defenses
You cannot be found guilty of a crime if you acted under Duress. A person acts under duress if, because of a threat or menace, you believed that you or someone else’s life would be in immediate danger if you refused a demand or request to commit the crimes. In other words, if you are forced onto the property by a threat of duress by another, you could use this as a defense to the charge. It means that you did not intend to trespass but did, and that is justified by the defense of duress.
To show that you can use the defense of Necessity, you must show that: you committed a crime; 1. in an emergency, and 2. in order to prevent “significant bodily harm or evil” to either yourself or someone else. Similar to the above situation, if you are chased by someone trying to hurt you, running onto a property with a posted “No Trespassing” sign, a necessary defense could be available to you.
V. Call Today
A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life. You not only face the loss of your potential freedom, but your ability to work will be tainted with any kind of conviction on your criminal record. Our PC 555 Ontario attorney has successfully thousands of people in your same situation. Every case deserves an aggressive defense. Your initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.