Rockland County Criminal Trespass Lawyer
Allegations involving trespassing are serious. Even if this is a person’s first offense and they have no prior experience with the criminal justice system, a conviction for any form of trespassing can result in a jail sentence and a criminal record.
Despite the fact that most people understand they cannot enter onto another’s land without permission, many individuals are not aware that there are various levels of trespassing under New York’s Penal Law. The most severe of these allegations are felonies that can result in prison sentences in excess of one year.
Regardless of the severity of the charge, a Rockland County criminal trespass lawyer can help. An experienced criminal defense attorney could work to formulate defenses that protect individuals’ Constitutional rights and present their version of the facts to juries to help achieve the best outcome under the given circumstances.
What is the Definition of Criminal Trespass?
In its simplest form, a trespass is anytime that a person enters onto, or remains on, private property without the owner’s permission. However, there are specific times when a trespass becomes a criminal matter.
New York Penal Law §140.05 defines illegal trespass as any time a person knowingly enters and stays unlawfully on private land. This refers to any time a person purposefully enters premises when they knew they are not allowed to do so, regardless of their intent for being on the land.
Levels of Criminal Trespassing Offenses
The type of land the person enters, as well as what they have in their possession at the time of the entering, determines whether the act is a crime and how serious that offense may be treated by the court. These allegations range in severity from minor misdemeanors to felonies.
There are three classes of criminal trespassing in New York, the first is criminal trespass in the third-degree, New York Penal Law §140.10. The least severe version of trespassing is a class B misdemeanor. This means that a conviction can result in a jail sentence of no more than three months, fines, or probation. This applies when a person enters private property that is fenced off the land, railroad property, a public housing complex, or any school.
Second and Third-Degree Criminal Trespassing Offenses
Courts upgrade the charges when the land is a private dwelling, regardless of whether it is fenced off, to criminal trespass in the second-degree under New York Penal Law §140.15. A conviction under this statute is a class A misdemeanor. This increases the penalties to a maximum of one year in jail, probation, and/or fines.
The most serious trespassing charges are called criminal trespass in the first-degree. According to New York Penal Law §140.17, this applies anytime that a person trespasses onto land while in possession of any explosive, a firearm, or knows that any co-participant has one of these items. Convictions here are class D felonies and may result in multi-year jail sentences.
Any allegation is a serious matter that has the potential to forever change a person’s life. A Rockland County criminal trespass lawyer can help people who are facing any criminal trespass charge.
What are the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Trespass Convictions?
A collateral consequence is one that is not written into the relevant criminal statute. Unlike jail time and fines, these consequences are only indirectly related to the conviction. That said, collateral consequences can have a real impact on a defendant’s life. There are several collateral consequences that follow a conviction for criminal trespass.
For example, a person convicted of felony trespass could lose the right to vote or own firearms. An individual with a professional license like a doctor or a lawyer could see their license revoked due to the conviction. There are other impacts that are possible on a person’s career, as prospective employers have the right to reject an application based on criminal history. The same is true of landlords considering an application from a person convicted of trespassing. An attorney in Rockland County could help someone minimize these potential consequences during a criminal trespass case.
What is the Difference Between Criminal Trespass and Burglary?
In some ways, the offenses of burglary and criminal trespass are similar. Both offenses involve unlawfully entering the property of another person. However, there are additional factors that the state must prove to obtain a conviction for burglary. For example, a burglary occurs when a person enters the property of another with the intention to commit a separate crime. A person’s intentions alone could be enough to elevate a trespassing charge to burglary.
Consulting a Rockland County Criminal Trespass Attorney
Regardless of a person’s goals, a Rockland County criminal trespass lawyer could help. An experienced lawyer understands New York’s Penal Law as it pertains to criminal trespassing. They understand what the prosecutor needs to prove and how to fight back against common strategies.
Any person facing criminal trespass charges would do well to consult with an aggressive attorney who could help them throughout the legal process. Contact a Rockland County criminal trespass attorney today to discuss your case and to learn more about your options.