Trespassing is one of the most misunderstood criminal offenses by both the public and the law enforcement community. Trespassing is codified at Code of Virginia § 18.2-119; that statute requires particular factual predicates before a person can be considered committing a criminal trespass. The verbatim language of the statute is below.
If any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian, or the agent of any such person, or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by or at the direction of such persons or the agent of any such person or by the holder of any easement or other right-of-way authorized by the instrument creating such interest to post such signs on such lands, structures, premises or portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may be reasonably seen, or if any person, whether he is the owner, tenant or otherwise entitled to the use of such land, building or premises, goes upon, or remains upon such land, building or premises after having been prohibited from doing so by a court of competent jurisdiction by an order issued pursuant to §§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.2 through 16.1-278.6, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-278.15, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9 or § 19.2-152.10 or an ex parte order issued pursuant to § 20-103, and after having been served with such order, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (emphasis added) This section shall not be construed to affect in any way the provisions of §§ 18.2-132 through 18.2-136. (hunting, trapping or fishing on the property that belongs to another person)
The emphasis added portions highlight the most important requirement before a criminal trespass can occur. The trespassing party must have proper notice not to go to or be at the barred location. The notice can be oral or in writing by a person with authority to bar persons from the location; it can be in the form of posted signage of “no trespassing”; it can be in the form of a business letter send via the mail or courier; it can be form an official court order arising from a protective order case.