New York Trespassing Crimes

While arrests for Trespassing in New York City or in suburbs such as Westchester County may often be prosecuted through Desk Appearance Tickets (also called a DAT) or even a some form of a summons, the belief that these arrests are insignificant are squarely wrong. Whether you are arrested for Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law 140.10) or Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 140.15), you are charged with a crime. In fact, should you be convicted of the crimes of either NY PL 140.10 or NY PL 140.15 you will have a life long criminal record for a misdemeanor that will follow you throughout your life.

Although there are many subsections or theories to each of these New York Trespassing crimes, the following analysis touches on the more commonly charged sections of NY PL 140.10 and NY PL 140.15 that New York criminal lawyers and Trespassing defense attorneys routinely handle.

Whether the allegation transpired in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or the numerous municipalities in Westchester County, you are guilty of Third Degree Criminal Trespass if and when you knowingly enter or remain unlawfully (you were told to leave and did not, for example) in a building or upon real property:

(a) that is enclosed or fenced in a way that is constructed to prevent intruders from entering; or (b) where the structure is a school with "conspicuously" posted rules regarding who can enter or remain inside; or (c) and (d) where the building is an elementary school where some person in charge actually advises you to leave or there are "conspicuously" posted rules governing who may enter and the circumstances of the same; or (e) and (f) where the building in question is a public housing project and you are advised to leave by an authorized person or there are "conspicuously" posted rues regarding who can enter the premises.

If you are guilty of NY PL 140.10 you would face up to ninety days in jail on a "B" misdemeanor crime.

More serious than its "little sister" offense, Second Degree Criminal Trespass is an "A" misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. According to the New York Penal Law, you are guilty of NY PL 140.15 if you knowing enter or remain in a dwelling. "Dwelling" is defined by New York criminal law as any type of building that is usually occupied by someone who lodges there at night. It is relevant to note that you need not enter the actual dwelling or apartment to be convicted of this crime. The cases that interpret Second Degree Trespass find it sufficient where the dwelling section of a building is attached to where you may have entered regardless of whether it was an apartment a full floor above.

What should be of great concern to any person charged with Trespassing as a misdemeanor is that if prosecutors are able to establish that you had an intent to commit a crime (regardless of the type of crime) when you committed the Trespass, they can also charge you with Burglary. In fact, where an individual is arrested for shoplifting by either Petit Larceny or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, stores often require that a person sign a "trespass notice" and their right to enter the particular store is revoked. If you re-enter that store you have committed a Trespass. Further, if prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your intent when entering was to commit a crime such as another shoplift, you can now be charged with a felony Burglary.

Every crime in the New York Penal Law is serious. Every crime has real world ramifications impacting employment, professional licenses and immigration status. An arrest for either Trespass in the Second Degree or Trespass in the Third Degree is no different. Protect your future today. The New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors who founded Crotty Saland PC are ready and more than capable to identify and set forth a strong and viable defense.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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