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Criminal Trespass

Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Sean Logue would give the following as a definition of criminal trespass: breaking and entering into someone else’s property, staying too long on someone else’s property, or making threats while being on someone else’s property. Pennsylvania’s criminal trespass laws are broad, which sometimes results in a misunderstanding between two people ending in criminal charges.

Criminal Trespass Categories

The type of trespass offense a person is charged with in Pennsylvania depends on what type of trespassing they allegedly did. There are four categories of trespassing in the state:

  1. Simple Trespassing: When someone stays in a place to do one of the following:
    1. Start or cause a fire on the property
    2. Threaten or perform acts, statements, or gestures aimed at the owner of the property
    3. Vandalize, deface, or damage the property in any manner
  2. This offense is categorized as a summary offense.

  3. Agricultural Trespassing: When someone enters land used for agricultural purposes that is clearly enclosed/fenced in or marked to keep people out, and/or they don’t leave the property after the owner or someone else in authority tells them to go.
  4. This is categorized as a misdemeanor of the third degree most of the time, but it becomes a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person refuses to leave when instructed.

  5. Defiant Trespassing: When someone remains on a property after being told they should not in one of the following ways:
    1. Posted signs
    2. Being verbally notified by anyone on the property
    3. Fencing or any other enclosure
    4. Told to leave, in any manner, by school officials, government facility officials, or law enforcement officers.
  6. This is usually charged as a misdemeanor of the third degree. If the warning is given by a police officer, government facility official, or school official, the charge will be classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

  7. Trespassing into a building: When someone knows they are not allowed into a building but break into it or enter it by sneaking into it or deceiving someone into allowing them in, or hiding in the building and remaining there.
  8. Breaking into buildings is a felony of the second degree. Going into, getting into, or remaining in a building is a felony of the third degree.

Criminal Trespass Consequences

There is a wide variety of consequences a trespasser may face. However, if the crime occurs related to domestic violence, or if the offender has trespassed before, the penalties become harsher. Also, if the offender has a PFA order against them, additional charges can be added to the trespass ones.

Simple trespass convictions can result in fines as high as $300 and jail sentences of up to 90 days.

Defiant trespass convictions vary in their punishments, depending on the grade of misdemeanor. Fines can go as high as $10,000 and prison sentences as long as 5 years.

Trespassing punishments are also dependent upon grade of felony. A conviction can come with fines as high as $25,000 and prison terms as long as 10 years.

Agricultural trespassing has specific penalties written into the law, and they vary depending on the degree of misdemeanor. Fines range from $250 to $5,000, and jail terms can be as long as two years.

Criminal Trespass Examples

Some situations that often lead to criminal trespass charges include: forcing your way into someone’s home, visiting someone without warning them you’re coming, refusing to leave after a person has repeatedly asked you to, and threatening someone while you’re on their property.

Criminal Trespass Defenses

Most of the time, criminal trespass defenses lie on proving the alleged offender did not intend to do harm or to trespass. The prosecutor has to prove the alleged offender intended to cause a problem. It’s hard to defend against these charges, though, and it becomes even harder when they are part of a domestic violence episode or the violation of a PFA.

Because these charges can have a negative effect on custody and divorce proceedings, as well as job and educational prospects, it’s important for someone who has been charged with criminal trespass to hire an attorney dedicated to helping him retain his rights. Call Sean Logue at 1-844-PITT-DUI today.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mr. Logue came to me for my consultation, which was nice! He helped me better understand my situation so I could weigh my options. He kept me updated on any new information about my case, and I could always easily contact him if I had any questions. I knew I was in good hands, and I got the best possible outcome for my case! Anonymous
★★★★★
Sean Logue accomplished an incredible thing for me by handling my legal matters. If you need help, this is the man to represent you...he's very keen, knowledgeable, and efficient in guiding you to freedom. The trust and loyalty he gives you is very down to earth, so if you need a lawyer this is the best one. You can feel totally confident in Sean's hands. Excellent job, thank you for taking the time for me, you took all my worries away...God bless your future. Anonymous
★★★★★
Mr Logue was the one I hired after talking to other attorneys about my case. He was the most knowledgeable and explained everything to me about his plan for me moving forward. He was always available to answer my questions and fought hard for me!! Don't waste your time looking for anyone else to help you. Mr Logue did an amazing job and very professional! Anonymous
★★★★★
Atty. Logue represented me well and took care of my legal issues superbly. He is a no-nonsense, very knowledgeable and well respected lawyer. I was pleased with his services. Would definitely recommend Atty. Logue to others. Anonymous
★★★★★
Mr. Logue is good for one reason, he cares. A client is not a quick buck. He always answers his phone, day or night and he understands the law better than anyone. He always answers my calls for both corporate and personal legal decisions and I have a ton of questions. His rates are reasonable too. Fair and firm. Anonymous