If you simply enter property of another person and remain there unlawfully you would have trespassed.  Doing so is not a crime, but a violation.  However, if you trespass onto property and there are certain aggravating factors such as you have a weapon, then the trespass would be classified not as a violation, but as a crime.  There are three degrees of severity of the crime of criminal trespass: criminal trespass in the third degree, criminal trespass in the second degree, and criminal trespass in the first degree.   Criminal trespass in the second and third degrees are misdemeanors while criminal trespass in the first degree is a felony.

Criminal trespass in the third degree

Criminal trespass in the third degree is the least severe of the criminal trespass offense.  It involves entering property that is clearly secured to prevent uninvited people from entering.  Specifically, you will face this charge if you enter property that is enclosed in a way that is designed to prevent intruders from entering the property; property that is a school or camp with conspicuously posted rules restricting entry; property that is a school and a school official requested you to leave; property that is a public housing project with conspicuously posted rules restricting entry or a public housing official requested you to leave; or property that is a railroad or rapid transit yard.  Criminal trespass in the third degree is a Class B misdemeanor.  N.Y. Pen. Law § 140.10

Criminal trespass in the second degree

You will face this charge if you enter a dwelling and remain there unlawfully.   A dwelling is defined as a building where a person stays overnight such as a residence.  You will also face this charge if you are a Level 2 or 3 registered sex offender and you enter a school that your victim attends or once attended.  Criminal trespass in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.  N.Y. Pen. Law § 140.15

Criminal trespass in the first degree

Criminal trespass in the first degree is the most serious trespass offense.  It is the only one that is a felony.  You will face this charge if you enter property and remain there unlawfully and you or an accomplice have explosives, a deadly weapon, or a firearm, rifle, shotgun along with ammunition.  Criminal trespass in the first degree is a Class D felony.  N.Y. Pen. Law § 140.17

Punishment for criminal trespass

The punishment for being convicted of this offense depends on whether you are convicted of the misdemeanor offense or the felony crime.  For criminal trespass in the second degree which is a Class A misdemeanor the maximum sentence of incarceration is 1 year, while for criminal trespass in the third degree, a Class B misdemeanor, the penalty will be up to 90 days in jail.  If you are convicted of felony criminal trespass, you could end up in state prison for up to 7 years.

At first glance the crime of trespass may seem minor.  However, if you are convicted there is a good chance that you will end up behind bars.  Thus, if you have been charged with criminal trespass it is important that you immediately contact an experienced New York criminal trespass lawyer who will vigorously defend you until your case is resolved.

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