Criminal Trespass

13-1502. Criminal trespass in the third degree; classification

  • A person commits criminal trespass in the third degree by:
    1. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry.
    2. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company.
  • Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class 3 misdemeanor.
  • 13-1503. Criminal trespass in the second degree; classification
    1. A person commits criminal trespass in the second degree by knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on any nonresidential structure or in any fenced commercial yard.
    2. Criminal trespass in the second degree is a class 2 misdemeanor

How is trespassing related to crime prevention? Trespassing comes up many times in a business setting. Consider the customer who is disruptive or the one you suspect stole from you last time. Don’t forget the visitor in your office that is starting to get angry. Dealing with all of these people can be unnerving if you don’t know where you stand. Understanding the rules can allow you to determine the outcome of these situations and possibly avoid a violent confrontation.

To understand the issue of trespassing, you need to divide this into two parts, inside your business and outside your business.

Inside your business

Whether you own a retail store or a factory, at some point someone is going to be there, long after you think they should go. How do you make them leave? The answer is, you don’t. Let me explain. While certain legally defined circumstances allow for the use of physical force to be used to remove someone from the property, (remember that night at the bar when your friend got thrown out?), it is best to avoid this if possible. Instead, the law requires that a reasonable request to leave be made. This is an excerpt from the law above. ( Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property). What does this mean? It means you or your employee can tell him to leave. If the suspect remains, then he is trespassing.

When should you call the police?

Before there is a problem. So when you decide to ask the subject to leave, you should have someone else calling the police. If he leaves while you are doing this, then you can cancel the police. It is best to get the police responding until you see if the suspect is going to comply. Please remember to cancel the police if the problem leaves.

It is important to designate specific areas just for employees. Visitors to your business need to know what areas are off limits to them. If there are store room doors in your business place a sign on the door/s stating "authorized personnel only" or "employees only". This allows for persons to be trespassed from your business if they enter the off limit area. The sign should be place at average eye level and clearly stated. If the business has a counter area for employees only to go behind, place a sign on the counter stating "authorized personnel behind counter only".

Outside of your business

Before trespassing becomes an issue for your business, it can be valuable to have an "authority to arrest" form on file with your local police precinct. An "authority to arrest form" gives the police department permission to arrest people trespassing on your property when the business is closed (no trespassing signs must be posted). If the business is open for business an officer will have to make contact with someone to verify that the person is not a customer or otherwise allowed to be on the property (due to recent court ruling). An authority arrest form is completed by the property owner/agent and then returned to the local police station in which the property is located. The local police precinct manages the authority to arrests on file for their precinct. The files are then available for officers to utilize at their discretion. The form must contain the original signature of the owner/agent. This form needs to be updated every two years or when the information it contains has changed. This is a very valuable tool for crime prevention because it shows that trespassers are not welcome in or around your business.

"No trespassing" signs are also recommended to be placed around your business and are required with the authority to arrest forms. The no trespassing sign can be purchased through sign companies. Below are examples of trespassing signs with the proper legal verbiage. The signs need to be placed at all reasonable entrances as well as sporadically throughout the property. They could be mounted on light poles, fences or on the buildings. They should be mounted at a height where they are visible but not so low that they can be easily removed or damaged or tampered with average eye level.

To locate your local police precinct click on the link "police precincts" on the police home page or call (602) 262-7626. 



A.R.S. 13-1502-A1

A.R.S. 13-1502-A1



  • Install signage at all common entrances to the property.
  • Minimum size 16" by 24", bilingual, and made of metal.
  • Signs must be printed in red ink a white background.
  • Available at most sign stores.

You can keep an "Authority to Arrest" () on file with your local precinct.