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Lawyer for Trespassing Charge

If you are facing a Trespass charge, call our office to learn about how we may be able to help assist you. Mr. Graham has been doing criminal defense work for 20 years. Prior to that he worked as a prosecutor for 8 years. Trespass cases can be beaten in court, and you owe it to yourself to find a criminal defense lawyer who will aggressively defend your rights.

Trespass in Washington State

Trespass in Washington is split into first and second degree. Additionally there are special statutes that deal with trespass in schools, or trespass while hunting. Let's talk about each in turn.

Second Degree Trespass

Trespass Second Degree is defined as entering without permission onto private land (as opposed to a building). The offense is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.trespassing lawyer wa The prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew he or she was not allowed to be present on the property. Sometimes this is established with "No Trespassing" signs or with a fence around a person's property. Under the law, however, members of the public have the implied permission to approach the front door of a home in the same way that political campaigners, religious proselytizers, or school children selling snacks might have. Sometimes a person is served with a notice that he or she may not enter certain property or lands. This is common with casinos, apartment complexes, and certain businesses where the manager or owner "trespasses" a person off their land and advises them in writing to never return. It must be established that the individual in question had the authority or power to make that decision. This is a point that criminal defense attorneys often raise successfully. Mr. Graham has successfully represent clients on this issue in Spokane County as well as Stevens County, Okanogan County, Lincoln County and Pend Oreille County.

First Degree Trespass

Trespass First Degree is defined as unlawful entry into a building or structure. This is typically less common than Trespass Second Degree. First Degree is considered more serious under the law and is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. trespass first degreeTypically this charge stems from when a person is asked to leave a business or residence and they refuse. The law is a little bit complicated in circumstances where one roommate wants a person to go, but the other wants him to stay. Under the law, a landlord can order someone to leave, but if the tenant accepts the person as a guest, that person is free to come and go as long as they do not loiter in the landlord's common areas. If someone trespasses in a residence, it may be the case that his or her intentions are burglary. Conversely, if a person is charged with burglary, the jurors are often given the opportunity to convict only of trespass.

Trespass on School Grounds

Under law, there is a separate statute that deals with refusal to leave school grounds. RCW 28A.635.020 states that it is unlawful to disobey the "chief administrative officer" of a public school district when asked to leave school property if he or she is creating a disturbance. The statute is not charged very often, but our firm has defended such cases when parents have become unruly at school functions or at ball games or other sporting events. The crime is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The offense gets complicated in court because parents have constitutional rights to be involved in their children's education, and often the individual attempting to exclude a parent from school grounds is not the "chief administrative officer."

Unlawful Hunting on the Property of Another

In 2012, the legislature enacted a special statute (RCW 77.15.435) to address the issue of people hunting on the property of another without permission.hunting trespass The statute is complex but it generally prohibits hunting on and the retrieval of wildlife off of private land unless the hunter reasonably believes the owner would have permitted his entry. In the cases we have handled, the charges are often brought against a hunter when he or she crosses over a fence to hunt. We also defend a lot of such cases in Adams, Lincoln, or Whitman County where an individual enters onto a wheat field to harvest a deer. There is an exception for entry onto property to avoid committing a wastage violation as outline in the state WDFW hunting pamphlet. This offense is often coupled with charges of Unlawful Hunting of Big Game.

Federal Trespass Citations

There are many federal trespass laws under which a person can be cited. 18 U.S.C. 1382 prohibits trespassing on a federal military base or post, and the offense is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. 25 CFR § 11.411 prohibits entering or surreptitiously remaining in any building or occupied structure without permission and it is applied on Indian Reservations such as the those lands of the Colville Confederated Tribes or of the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Trespassing and Political Protests

It is common for trespass charges to be levied in the context of a political protest. Mr. Graham has handled many such cases. Political protests such as sit-ins or blocking a certain area can be met with criminal charges by the local prosecutor. If you have a case you would like to discuss with us, we would encourage you to reach out to our firm.

Seek the legal assistance of this firm in your case today by calling (509) 252-9167 today and scheduling your initial consultation.