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New York Criminal Trespass Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal trespass is a non-violent offense that entails entering others’ property without permission or staying on others’ property after you’re no longer welcome. Compared to other crimes, criminal trespass may seem minor, but it does come with consequences. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may have to pay a penalty, and it may appear on your criminal record. For serious offenses, you may spend time in jail or prison.

It’s important to differentiate between simple and criminal trespass. When someone enters or stays on another person’s property without the right to do so, they have committed simple trespass. Simple trespass is a violation, not a crime. The maximum penalty is a 15 day jail sentence, but in most cases, the penalty is a fine or community service. Trespassing becomes a criminal offense when certain criteria are met for the location involved, the background of the trespasser, and the actions of the trespasser during the event.

What are the different offenses for criminal trespass?

There are three criminal trespass offenses that vary based on the location and the circumstances of the trespassing.

Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree: Third degree trespassing involves entering an enclosed or fenced-in property, a public housing project, a school, or a railroad without permission. If you enter with permission but stay longer than you are welcome, you can also be charged with criminal trespass in the third degree. This offense is a class B misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail. Instead of jail time, you may get probation or have to pay a fine.

Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree: This offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Potential consequences include probation, fines, community service, and up to one year in jail. Second degree criminal trespass involves unlawfully entering a dwelling. This includes houses, apartments, condos, hotel rooms, or anywhere else people stay overnight. Second degree trespass also includes entering a school or vocational institution if you are a registered sex offender and know that your victim attends or attended the school. There are a few exceptions, though. If you or your child attends the school, if you’re participating as a student at an event at the school, if the school is your polling place, or if the superintendent allows you to enter the school grounds, you have not committed a crime.

Criminal Trespass in the First Degree: First degree trespassing involves entering a property and committing a crime while possessing a firearm, explosive, or other deadly weapon. This is a class D felony, which has a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison. Other possible penalties include probation, community service, or fines.

A criminal trespass charge should be taken seriously. A conviction will give you a criminal record and possibly time in jail, even if it’s a misdemeanor. If you’ve been arrested for trespassing, you should contact Spodek Law Group for representation. Their experienced attorneys will help you receive a fair sentencing.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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