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The Criminal Trespass process

Posted by Charles "Chuck" Chadwick, Jr. on


The Criminal Trespass process -

One of the most common problem in churches is the person who is causing a disturbance which is deemed "disorderly conduct". There is a process by which the church can ask the person to quit doing whatever they are doing that is causing the disturbance or to leave the property. If they fail to comply the church can have the person arrested for criminal trespass.

However, simply telling the person to leave and them leaving is not the same as having the police serve them a criminal trespass citation or warning.

Suggested process:

I would first meet with the church's management to get approval or instructions on what they want you to do when you think a person is being disorderly. This may be the senior pastor, elder board, etc. Upon determination that a person needs to leave and not come back you would then call the police or local law enforcement and tell them that a person is disrupting the church service and need them to come serve the person with criminal trespass.

Each department may have a different process depending on their agencies policy. Sometime the citation last for 6 months, others may last indefinitely. My advice is to contact your local law enforcement before you need this done so that you will know their process.

My advice is not to touch the person and let the local LE handle the situation.

A typical process goes as follows:
When the police get there tell them who the person is and that the church does not want the person on the church's property.
They will address the person and run them for any outstanding warrants and tell them to leave or face being arrested for criminal trespass.

Definition of "disorderly conduct" from Texas DPS – PSB Level 2 training manual:


Misdemeanors are offenses that are punishable by; a fine arm or term in the county jail. The following two conditions must exist in order for you to arrest a person on a misdemeanor charge:

  1. The misdemeanor must be against the public peace; not all misdemeanors fit under this category; and
  2. The misdemeanor must be committed within your presence or view.

The following are common examples and are found in section 42.01 "Disorderly Conduct" in the Texas Penal Code:

  1. Use of indecent, abusive, profane, or vulgar language or gesture in a public place to incite and immediate breach of the peace.
  2. Creating, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
  3. Abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner.
  4. Makes an unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy.
  5. Fights with another in a public place.
  6. Enters on the property of another and for a lewd and unlawful purpose, looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling.
  7. Discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road.
  8. Discharges a firearm on or across a public road
  9. Displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner to cause alarm.
  10. Exposes his anus or oher genitals in public and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.

Other examples of Misdemeanors against the public peace are:

  1. Assault- if a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or threatens another with imminent bodily injury.
  2. Indecent Exposure-The act of exposing the person's anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person and is reckless about whether another person is present who will be offended of alarmed.
  3. Criminal Trespassing- Entering the property of another without permission; refusing to leave when asked. The offense may be aggravated if properly is destroyed or damaged.
  4. Criminal Mischief- Maliciously defacing, damaging, or destroying property.

14.01 [T.C.C.P.) If you arrest a suspect, you must deliver them to a peace officer or magistrate. When they arrive, turn the suspect over to them and make your statement.
Other things you will be expected to do when you make a misdemeanor arrest include:

  1. Meeting with the district attorney to discuss the case and give a sworn statement regarding what happened
  2. Attending the suspects hearing,
  3. Testifying at the suspect's trial.


(a) A person commits an offense if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person:
(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Entry" means the intrusion of the entire body.
(2) "Notice" means:
(A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;
(B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;
(C) 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;
(D) the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are:
(i) vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width;
(ii) 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
(iii) placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than:
(a) 100 feet apart on forest land; or
(b) 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land; or


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