Trespassing is the unlawful entering into another person’s property without the landowner’s consent. Criminal trespass occurs when an individual enters and/or remains on the property of another without the owner’s consent. Lack of consent refers to when the landowner does not give defendant permission to enter or stay on the property.

How Does Washington State Define Criminal Trespass?

The State defines criminal trespass as a person knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on another person’s premises.

Does the State Have Degrees of Criminal Trespass?

Yes. A person can be charged with first degree criminal trespass, a gross misdemeanor, or second degree criminal trespassing.

What is the Punishment for Criminal Trespass in Washington State?

If a defendant is convicted of trespassing, the amount of jail time depends on the charge. First degree criminal trespass is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $5,000.

A second degree criminal trespassing conviction is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

I’ve Been Charged Criminal Trespassing in Seattle, Will the Criminal Trespassing Program Affect My Case?

The Criminal Trespassing Program in Seattle provides individual property owners with a “Trespass Warning” sign for their property. Anyone who violates the posted conditions may receive a trespass warning. A defendant found to violate the posted conditions at the same address again may face penalties, such as immediate arrest if found in the same area.

Are There Any Common Defenses to Criminal Trespassing?

Yes. The specific defenses a defendant can use depends on their case. Some common criminal trespass defenses include:

  • Permission/consent to be on the property
  • Not intentionally entering the property
  • Didn’t obstruct or interfere with the property
  • Property was abandoned
  • Defendant was on the property to serve legal papers.

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Trespassing Charge?

Yes, it’s always important to speak with a washington criminal lawyer if you’re facing criminal trespassing charge.