If a tenant breaks back into, and moves into the property after being evicted, the following laws may be enforced against the tenant by the local police department or Sheriff’s (keep their card after the lockout). However, the specific penalties are a possible misdemeanor or contempt of court. In all likelihood no prosecution will occur, but the police/sheriff will remove them again and give a stern warning. The problem here is that the specific Penal Code statutes state “returns to settle, reside…” or “returns”. That seems to mean moving back in, not just to return to get is things out. But there is still vandalism, trespass and other possible violations to charge the former tenant. Some applicable statutes are here …
419 Penal Code
“Every person who has been removed from any lands by process of law, or who has removed from any lands pursuant to the lawful adjudication or direction of any court, tribunal, or officer, and who afterwards unlawfully returns to settle, reside upon, or take possession of such lands, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
A landlord desiring to take action under the above section should have a copy of the writ under which the eviction was made, and in cases executed by the Sheriff, a copy of the Sheriff’s receipt for possession of the property.
602.5 Penal Code
“Every person other than a public officer or employee acting within the course and scope of his employment in performance of a duty imposed by law, who enters or remains in any noncommercial dwelling house, apartment, or other such place without consent of the owner, or his agent, or the person in lawful possession thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
1210 Code of Civil Procedure
“Every person dispossessed or ejected from any real property by the judgment or process of any court of competent jurisdiction, who, not having right so to do, reenters into or upon or takes possession of the real property, or induces or procures any person not having a right so to do, or aids or abets such a person therein, is guilty of a contempt of the court by which the judgment was rendered or from which the process issued. Upon a conviction for contempt the court must immediately issue an alias process, directed to the proper officer, and requiring the officer to restore possession to the party entitled under the original judgment or process . . . ”
This section is enforceable only upon the defendants having been found guilty of contempt by the court itself. The plaintiff (landlord) must file a petition with the court, whereupon the defendant (tenant) may be ordered into court for a hearing regarding possible contempt. If found guilty by the court, the other provisions of the section may be carried out.