Trespassing is considered a minor offense in many jurisdictions, but in Delaware County, it can be treated as a felony offense punishable by a substantial term of imprisonment. A conviction creates a criminal record visible to anyone conducting an online search. Therefore, it wise to treat even minor trespassing charges with serious consideration.
A Delaware County trespassing lawyer could explain the potential ramifications if you are charged with trespassing. A diligent criminal defense attorney familiar with how local courts handle trespassing cases could explain your options for fighting the charges and work to protect your rights.
State criminal laws provide a wide range of penalties for trespassing offenses. Depending on the circumstances, criminal trespassing in Delaware County may be treated as a second or third-degree felony. If the situation is considered to pose less of a danger, it may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor in the first, second, or third degree. In some cases, “simple” trespassing may be handled as a summary offense.
A Delaware County trespassing lawyer will seek alternative penalties when available, but the maximum penalties for trespassing include:
Agricultural trespassing has separate penalties described in the statute which are similar to the maximum penalties for second and third-degree misdemeanors but also include a minimum fine.
The most serious trespassing offenses are defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3503(a) and they involve trespass in buildings and occupied structures. If someone breaks into a building or occupied structure, the trespassing is considered a second-degree felony. If someone gains entry through trickery or deceit, or if they enter lawfully but remain without permission, then the trespass may be treated as a third-degree felony.
In both situations, the person taking action must know that they are not authorized to enter or remain on the premises. Therefore, an experienced lawyer could defend against charges by showing that the person accused believed they had the right or permission to be there.
While simple trespassing is treated as a summary offense, defiant trespassing may be treated as a misdemeanor. An individual will be considered a defiant trespasser under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3503(b) if they trespass despite receiving some form of notice that trespassing is not permitted.
If the person entering or remaining on the property without permission received a direct communication that trespassing is not permitted and they remain in defiance of that notice, then the action will be considered a third-degree misdemeanor. If the notice regarding trespassing is communicated personally and the property at issue is a school, the offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. When notice is communicated through a sign, notices, or the presence of fencing, then the trespass is regarded as a summary offense.
Trespassing is a serious and complex offense in Delaware County. While several defenses may be raised successfully to fight trespassing charges, it is essential to understand the proper procedures involved regarding the introduction of evidence and other aspects of criminal defense.
Accordingly, it is wise for anyone charged with trespassing to consult a Delaware County Trespassing Lawyer for assistance. A knowledgeable attorney could work to minimize the negative consequences so that you can move forward. For a free consultation to learn more, call now.