Criminal Trespassing in New York City

In New York, all degrees of the Criminal Trespass statutes have the same basic underlying elements. A person commits Criminal Trespass when that person either enters an area which that person had no right to enter; or remains in an area after another person or organization with the authority to exclude that person commands the person to leave.

The right to prevent a person from coming onto property, or to lawfully command that they leave does exclusively rest with the owner of the property. A renter, leaseholder, and/or sublettor all have a contractual relationship with the owner of property which grants them the authority to control who may come onto certain property. Additionally, just because a person is invited onto property does not mean that person has the right to stay as long as desired. Anyone who has authority over the premises can lawfully command a person to leave. If they do not then leave, they are in violation of the statute.

The Criminal Trespass statutes range from a B misdemeanor to a D felony. The lowest level of the offense applies to common areas of city-owned property, and non-residential private areas. This is a B misdemeanor charge, and carries a maximum sentence of 90 days jail.

The degree becomes more serious if the person is determined to be trespassing inside of a dwelling. A dwelling, under New York law, is any type of building where a person usually lodges or remains overnight. This an A misdemeanor charge, and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Finally, the most serious degree of the statute occurs when a person is not only trespassing inside a building (not necessarily a dwelling), but is either carrying a deadly weapon or firearm, or knows that another individual who is with that person is carrying a deadly weapon or firearm. This is a D felony charge, and carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.

In circumstances like an eviction, whether it be in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or Westchester and Rockland Counties, a person may be arrested for Criminal Trespass if they re-enter the dwelling from which they have been evicted. However, for a person to violate the statute, they must know that their authority to be inside the premises has been revoked. It is important to hire an attorney who understands the elements of consent, how it is communicated and how it is withdrawn.

The New York City criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman are experienced in evaluating how authority to enter and/or remain is given and under what circumstances a person is expected to know their authority to be present in a location has been rescinded.

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman, the attorneys will examine the facts and the case from every angle and ensure that the best possible defense is put forth and the best possible results are obtained. Call today at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.

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