Criminal Trespass

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 building.

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.

Defenses under RCW 9A.52.090

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.

Misdemeanor Compromise

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.