Trespass on School Grounds

Pursuant to Title XLVI, Chapter 810, Section 810.097, Florida law prohibits trespass upon school grounds or the school’s other facilities. The crime is generally categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor but can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor if you were first given a warning by the principal or their designee to leave or not enter.

The statute makes it a crime or any person to enter or remain upon the school campus or other facility owned by the school.

  • Is a student currently under expulsion or suspension; or
  • Does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property.

Section 810.097 defines the term “school” to include the grounds of the school or any of the school’s facilities including school buses. The term school includes any public or private high school, middle school, junior high school, elementary school, kindergarten, or secondary school.

Attorney for Trespass on School Grounds in Florida

If you were accused of trespass on school grounds under Section 810.097, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent juveniles and adults charged with trespass and burglary throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Polk County, FL.

Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We have a second office in New Port Richey, directly across from the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Call 813-250-0500 today.

Penalties for Trespass on School Grounds

The crime is generally categorized as a second degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail or 6 months probation and a $500 fine.

If you are accused of entering or remaining at the school after the school’s principal or designee has directed you to leave or not to enter, then the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail or on probation.

Read more about the penalties for trespass and armed trespass in Florida.

Trespass as an Exception to the Arrest Warrant Requirement

Under Section 810.097(4), any law enforcement officer “may arrest either on or off the premises and without warrant any person the officer has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of trespass upon the grounds of a school facility.”

Furthermore, the statute also provides that “[s]uch a warrantless arrest shall not render the law enforcement officer criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.”

Read more about the 2021 exceptions to the warrantless arrest requirements.

Immunity From Civil or Criminal Liability for a Trespass Detention

If the school’s chief administrative officer or designee has probable cause to believe that a person is trespassing upon school grounds in violation of this section, then they are allowed to detain a person suspected of trespass at the school in order to help maintain order on the campus.

The detention must be “in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time pending the arrival of a law enforcement officer.” The statute also requires that a trespasser is taken into custody by the chief administrative officer, that a law enforcement officer shall be called to the scene immediately after the person is taken into custody.

Under some circumstances, subsection 3 of Section 810.097 gives immunity from criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention, to the school and its employees after such detention.

This article was last updated on June 3, 2021.