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June 25, 2024

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

A Mount Tabor, Pennsylvania woman was arrested in 2018 for defiant trespassing, as reported by Parsippany Focus, which is a third degree misdemeanor. There are many various types of criminal trespassing in Pennsylvania, each with a specific criminal penalty and set of punishments. If you have been charged with any type of trespassing, you need to consult with an experienced Philadelphia attorney. Commonly, trespassing charges are added onto other offenses, or vice versa, meaning that even if you are only up against a misdemeanor trespassing charge, the total incarceration time and fines that you may be liable for could be extreme if you do not consult with legal help.

Trespass of Building or Occupied Structure — Second or Third Degree Felony

Under Pennsylvania statute 3503, trespassing within buildings or occupied structures is a third degree felony. This offense occurs when a person knows they are not permitted to enter a building or occupied structure, and does so by entering or gaining entry by deceit or secrecy. It is a second degree felony if the defendant breaks into any part of the building by way of force, intimidation, breaking, unauthorized opening of a loci, or through an opening not designed for human access (such as a vent, window, or dog door).

Defiant Trespassing — First or Third Degree Misdemeanor

When a person defies an order to leave, whether that order is personally communicated to the defendant by the owner or another authorized person, they are said to be a defiant trespasser. Failing to leave after trespassing is a third degree misdemeanor. However, if the defendant sees or should have seen a posted notice by the law that unauthorized visitors are not welcome on school grounds, the offense is that of a first degree misdemeanor.

Simple Trespassing — Summary Offense

When a person knows they are not allowed or no longer allowed on a property and they enter and remain in that place for any of the following purposes, it constitutes a summary offense, which is usually a fine:

  • Threatening or terrorizing either the owner of the premises or the occupants;
  • Starting a fire; or
  • Defacing or damaging the premises.

Agricultural Trespassing

By entering or remaining on any agricultural or other open lands when there is a posted no trespassing sign or other similar sign, or the area is fenced in designed to exclude trespassers or domestic animals, a person commits agricultural trespassing, a third degree misdemeanor. If they are told to leave by the owner or other authorized person, the offense is upgraded to that of a second degree misdemeanor.

A Philadelphia Trespass Attorney is Here to Help Today

In order to be charged with trespassing, you must have known (or should have known due to ample signage) that you were not authorized to be in the area. No matter what type of trespassing offense you have been charged with, the Philadelphia attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are here to help. We handle all types of criminal charges, and will help you mount a defense proving your innocence in the matter.


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