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Greg Prosmushkin

Criminal Trespass Lawyer Philadelphia

Criminal trespass is roughly defined as someone entering a property or place by subterfuge without having permission to enter, but not having the intent to commit a crime once inside.

Criminal trespass is usually charged alongside burglary and is considered a “lesser included offense” of Burglary. This means that if you are charged with burglary, you will also likely be charged with criminal trespass. If you are only charged with criminal trespass, there are a number of defenses you can pursue.

Criminal Trespass Generally

The Pennsylvania code defines criminal trespass as: “Knowing that he is not license or privileged to do so, he: “(1) enters, gains entry by subterfuge or surreptitiously remains in any building or occupied structure or separately secured or occupied portion thereof; or (2) breaks into any building or occupied structure or separately secured or occupied portion thereof.”

Some examples of criminal trespass include:

  • Staying inside a bar after they close by hiding in the bathroom
  • Breaking into a garage for the purposes of sleeping inside
  • Breaking into a house for the purpose of sleeping inside
  • Lying to get into a building, but not committing a crime inside

Many times, prosecutors will offer a criminal trespass charge instead of burglary as a downgrade for burglary.

Philadelphia Criminal Trespass Lawyer

The most effective defense against criminal trespass is that you did not know you did not have permission to enter the building or structure. For example, an intoxicated person who enters the wrong apartment, falsely believing they were entering their own apartment, cannot be convicted of criminal trespass. As with any other crime, the Commonwealth needs to prove that you knew you could not enter and/or did not have permission to enter the property in question.

In cases where a person is not found inside or near the structure, there are ways of challenging the circumstantial evidence prosecutors put forth, such as the admissibility of DNA, fingerprint, and identification evidence that can serve to show you were not at the property on that day and time.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers has decades of experience handling criminal trespass charges and can effectively defend you in these matters. Call us today for a free consultation on your case.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.