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Bellevue Trespass Lawyers
Criminal trespass charges are no joke. When it comes to property, the state of Washington ensures to uphold the rights of property owners first and foremost. That’s why when a person illegally enters another person’s property and does not leave, the owner of the property has the right to call the police, who may proceed to press charges. Criminal trespass is typically charged as a misdemeanor, but don’t be fooled ― misdemeanors carry serious punishments, nonetheless.
For these reasons, it is in your best interests to put our Bellevue trespass attorneys on your side if you are facing these accusations. Rather than waiting around and hoping for the best, put an honest, experienced, and committed team of lawyers on your side. Our team at Veitch Ault Defense has 40+ combined years of experience defending clients in your position and has achieved countless favorable outcomes as a result. We give clients the focus and responsiveness they need to work through their cases with ease, guiding them every step of the way and addressing any concerns they may have. With our unrivaled defense strategies and impressive track record, you can count on us to aggressively fight your charges and help you move forward.
Criminal Trespass Charges in Washington State
Criminal trespass can be charged in the first degree or second degree depending on the circumstances of the offense. Generally, criminal trespass can occur when people come onto property when they are not allowed to, or it might occur when people violate the conditions of entry onto property. For background, conditions of entry are the terms and conditions under which people may enter onto public or private property. As such, a criminal trespass charge will arise when a prosecuting agency believes a person unlawfully entered or remained on another person’s property.
Criminal trespass charges often involve or result from domestic violence accusations, specifically when a defendant violates a no-contact order. For instance, a no-contact order may require the defendant to remain a certain distance away from the reported victim’s property. So, if the defendant violates the order and enters the victim’s property, nonetheless, they could be charged for criminal trespass and even malicious mischief if circumstances call for it.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the types of criminal trespass charges in Washington State.
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree
First-degree criminal trespass, or “criminal trespass 1,” is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days behind bars and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. This crime occurs when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building. Unless accompanied by a separate felony charge from the same incident, Criminal Trespass 1st Degree will be filed in District or Municipal Court.
Criminal Trespass 2 Charges
In the state of Washington, criminal trespass in the 2nd degree is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Although it is a lower-level offense than a first0degree criminal trespass charge, 2nd-degree criminal trespass charges should be taken seriously. The difference between first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree criminal trespass in Washington is that a person who enters or remains on another’s property but is not inside a building will get charged for criminal trespass in the second degree, whereas a person who trespasses inside a building will get tougher first-degree charges.
Possible Defenses to Criminal Trespass
While the elements of criminal trespass appear rather straightforward, you may find hope in knowing that the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) recognized four legal defenses to criminal trespass charges. Depending on the circumstances of your charges, your attorney may utilize one of the following defenses in your case strategy:
- The building was abandoned.
- The premises were open and the alleged trespasser complied with all conditions for access or remaining on the premises.
- The alleged trespasser reasonably believed the owner permitted them to access/remain on the premises.
- The alleged trespasser was attempting to serve legal process. This defense applies only if the actor did not enter into a private residence or another building that is not open to the public and the entry onto the premises was reasonable and necessary for service of the legal process.
As you can see, there’s a chance your charges could get minimized or dropped completely if your lawyer successfully leverages one of the above defenses in your case. We firmly believe that the criminal justice system is not always “out to get you,” and that there are possibilities to achieve a successful case result.
Our Bellevue criminal trespass lawyers have achieved countless favorable case outcomes on behalf of hundreds of clients, bringing 40+ combined years of experience and unrivaled skillsets to the table. Let’s talk about your situation and we can explain your next steps.
To get in touch with us, contact our firm online or at 425-452-1600 to schedule a free consultation!
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2122 112th Ave. NE, Suite A200
Bellevue, WA 98004
20102 Cedar Valley Rd., Suite 104
Lynnwood, WA 98036
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