You can be charged with criminal trespass if you know that you are not allowed to enter a building, but you do so anyway.
In Pennsylvania, criminal trespass covers multiple situations. For example, someone is warned by his ex-girlfriend not to come over but he breaks into her house anyway and threatens to hurt her. Another example, dissimilar but still criminal trespass, would be sneaking into an acquaintance’s Seven Springs vacation home and staying there without their permission.
The methods by which a trespasser enters a building also encompass a wide range. It is against the law to gain entry by forcing, breaking in, intimidation, unauthorized opening of locks, or going through an opening not designed for human access like a dog door.
If you are questioned by the police or charged with criminal trespass, having an experienced attorney represented you can help you avoid serious penalties like jail time, expensive fines, and a permanent criminal record. Call the Pittsburgh property crimes lawyers at our firm for a free, confidential case evaluation today at (412) 281-2146.
Simple Criminal Trespass
Under Pennsylvania law, a simple trespasser is someone who knows that they are not licensed or privileged to do so, but enters or remains in any place for the purpose of:
- Threatening or terrorizing the premises owner or occupant
- Starting or causing to be started any fire
- Defacing or damaging the premises
Simple criminal trespass is graded as a summary offense.
Defiant Criminal Trespass
Pennsylvania defines a defiant trespasser as someone who, knowing they are not licensed or privileged to do so, enters or remains in any place where they are given notice against trespass by communication, postings, fencing or other enclosures designed to keep out intruders.
If you defy an order to leave that is personally communicated to you by the owner of the premises or another authorized person, you can be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree. Otherwise, it is a summary offense.
Refusing to leave a school or its grounds after being told to do so by a school employee or law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Your Defense – A Pittsburgh Criminal Trespass Lawyer Has the Answers
Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, your Pittsburgh criminal trespass lawyer will employ one or more defenses to help your legal situation. He or she may be able to prove that the building involved was abandoned or thought to be abandoned.
If the premises were at the time open to members of the public and you complied with lawful conditions for gaining access to the premises or remaining on the premises, this may also help your defense.
Your lawyer may also be able to show that you reasonably believed the owner of the premises or another individual with power gave you permission to enter or remain on the premises.