There are two degrees of criminal trespass in the State of Washington:
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree, a gross misdemeanor, and Criminal
Trespass in the Second Degree, a misdemeanor.
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree
Criminal Trespass 1 is defined in
RCW 9A.52.070. This crime occurs when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a
Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
Criminal Trespass 2 is defined in
RCW 9A.52.080. This crime is very similar to Criminal Trespass 1, though all the prosecution
is required to prove is knowingly entering or remaining on
premises of another.
A number of statutory defenses can apply when a person is charged with
either Criminal Trespass 1 or 2. First, it is not trespassing if the
building at issue is abandoned. Second, it is not trespassing if, at the time of
entering or remaining, the premises were open to the public and the actor
complied with whatever conditions were imposed on access to or remaining
in the premises. Third, it is not trespassing if the actor reasonably
believed that he or she would have been given permission had they asked.
Finally, it is not trespassing if the actor was making an attempt to serve
legal process (though, the actor is not allowed to enter into a private
residence or any other non-public building, and the actor must establish
that entry onto the premises was necessary and reasonable to accomplish
service of process.
A charge of Criminal Trespass can be “compromised” pursuant to
Washington’s Misdemeanor Compromise statute.
To learn more, call Baumgarten Law Office for a free consultation.