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West Chester Criminal Trespassing Lawyer

In American, people are proud of their property and endeavor to protect it. Sometimes they make this very evident by posting signs, other times it’s not so apparent. Sign or no sign, however, criminal trespass is still a crime. Trespassing may seem like a minor issue, but penalties for criminal trespassing are punishable as a felony in many circumstances.

Whether the trespassing charge is a summary offense or a felony, the burden of proof still falls on the prosecution, so hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney could greatly benefit your defense.

West Chester Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with criminal trespassing in West Chester or the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania, including towns in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Lancaster County, it is imperative that you hire a criminal defense attorney with your best interest at heart.

Michael Skinner is the founder of Skinner Law Firm and a skilled criminal defense lawyer with years of experience handling cases like yours. He will fight hard to protect your rights while keeping your goals for defense in mind – even if that means pursuing your freedom through trial or appeals. Your first consultation is free and honest, so call (610) 436-1410 to schedule yours today.


Important Legal Definitions for Pennsylvania Criminal Trespassing

Occupied Structure – Any structure, vehicle, or place adapted for overnight accommodation or conducting business by a person, whether or not that person is present

Break Into – Gain entry by force, breaking, intimidation, unauthorized opening of locks, or through an opening not meant for human access

Agricultural or Other Open Lands:

  • Any land on which agricultural activity or farming is conducted
  • Any land populated by forest trees and capable of producing timber and/or other wood products
  • Any land in an agricultural security area as defined by the Agricultural Area Security Law
  • Any area zoned for agricultural use

Agricultural Biosecurity Area – Any of the following areas identified by posted notice as an agricultural biosecurity area and for which the owner has established procedures to inhibit the transfer of contagious diseases or hazardous substances:

  • Agricultural or other open lands
  • A building, animal, or plant containment area enclosed in a manner specifically designed and constructed to keep out trespassers and/or confine domestic animals or plants used in research, agricultural activity, or farming

Posted Notice – A notice posted in a manner that is reasonably likely to come to the attention of a person

School Grounds:

  • Any building or grounds of any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution
  • Any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education
  • Any certified day-care center
  • Any licensed preschool program

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Types of Criminal Trespassing in West Chester

Criminal trespassing comes in many different forms and is often more complicated than wandering on to someone’s land who doesn’t want you there. Title 18, Section 3503 defines the types of criminal trespass in Pennsylvania and their corresponding classifications. Penalties for these offenses are standard unless otherwise specified under the offense in the code itself. Your West Chester property crimes lawyer can help you understand your charges.

The types of criminal trespassing include:

Criminal Trespasser

  • Person gains entry by deception or secretly remains in any building or occupied structure or any separately secured or occupied portion of that building/structure
    • Third-degree Felony
  • Breaks into any building or occupied structure or separately secured or occupied portion of that building/structure
    • Second-degree felony

Defiant Trespasser

  • Person enters or remains in any place he or she knows is not permitted or licensed to be in when notice against trespass is given by:
    • Actual communication
    • Posted notice
    • Fencing
    • Posted notice at the entrance of school grounds
    • Failure to comply is a third-degree misdemeanor
  • Person enters or remains in any place he or she knows is not permitted or licensed to be in when notice against trespass is given by actual communication to trespasser to leave school grounds as communicated by school official or law enforcement officer
    • First-degree misdemeanor

Simple Trespasser

  • Person enters or remains in any place knowing he or she has no right to do so for the purpose of:
    • Threatening or terrorizing the owner or occupant of the premises
    • Starting or causing to be started any fire upon the premises
    • Defacing or damaging the premises
    • Failure to comply is a summary offense

Agricultural Trespasser

  • Person enters or remains on any agricultural or other open lands, knowing he or she is not licensed or permitted to do so, when such lands are protected by a posted notice or are fenced or enclosed
    • Third-degree misdemeanor
  • Person enters or remains when individual knows he or she is not allowed and defies an order not to enter or leave that has been personally communicated to him by the owner of the lands or other authorized person
    • Second-degree misdemeanor

Agricultural Biosecurity Area Trespasser

  • Person enters an agricultural biosecurity area knowing he or she is not allowed to do so
    • Third-degree misdemeanor
    • Upgraded to first-degree misdemeanor if damage or death of an animal or plant was involved
  • Person enters an agricultural biosecurity area and knowingly or recklessly fails to perform reasonable measures for the purpose of biosecurity before entry that are established by posted notice
    • Summary offense
    • Upgraded to first-degree misdemeanor if damage or death of an animal or plant was involved

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Simple Trespasser Attorney in Pennsylvania

If you have been charged with a criminal trespassing offense in Chester County or Delaware County, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm. We will fight hard for your rights and your freedom. Contact us today at (610) 436-1410 to find out how today.

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