The Connecticut charge of criminal trespass one that is very frequently used by Police to cover a wide range of situations where you may find yourself in a place you should not be. Often, we see people unfairly charged with this crime who have been given no notice that they were trespassing or granted an opportunity to leave. There are actually 3 varieties of criminal trespass and collectively they make a very large amount of arrests every year in Connecticut. Often the fact that the crime itself seems at first blush rather trivial often places clients off guard about the serious consequences that follow a conviction for a criminal trespass which at all three levels is a criminal misdemeanor. Upon a conviction you would have a criminal record, face up to a year in jail, fines, probation and may find difficulty to secure employment in the future. So if you have been arrested for criminal trespass , you should contact a Stamford criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman who can review your case and find a cost effective manner in which to have the charges dismissed or reduced.Why Choose Us?
- Criminal trespass arrests often happen at all hours of the day and night - therefore we are available 24/7
- We have more than 30 years of experience defending criminal trespass charges
- We are determined to protect your rights and obtain the best possible result
- Free initial consultation
- Reasonable rates and payment plans
- Our guiding principle is that our “Clients come first” – we take the time to get to know you, keep you informed on the progress of your case and fight hard for the best possible outcome
Ask any top Stamford criminal defense attorney and they will agree that under Connecticut law there are three separate and distinct levels of criminal trespass. Although all 3 degrees are misdemeanors, each one of the three covers a different type of situation and the punishment varies between the three.Criminal Trespass in the First Degree
Top Stamford criminal defense attorneys will agree that Criminal trespass in the first degree is the most serious of the trespassing charges in Connecticut. The statutory citation is Connecticut Gen. Statutes Section 53a-107. This statue is one that requires some real effort to get arrested for. There are several situations that it covers. You can be arrested for criminal trespass in the first degree is you had knowledge that you were not permitted to enter upon a premises or property or public lands, you entered or remained upon the premises, property or public lands after a command to leave or not enter was communicated to you by the owner or an authorized person. This arrest arises in situations where you are asked to leave a public establishment or park lands for whatever reason, such as a bar or nightclub due to a disturbance or altercation and you refuse to leave. The last two situations for which you could be arrested for criminal trespass in the first degree involve situations where there is a valid criminal protective order or restraining order in effect that prohibits you from entering a premises and you enter that premises in violation of the valid criminal protective or restraining order. Criminal trespass in the first degree is a Class A Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one full year in jail, a $2000 fine and probation.Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
Criminal trespass in the second degree is the midlevel trespassing statute in Connecticut. The statutory citation is Connecticut Gen, Statues Section 53a-108. You can be arrested for criminal trespass in the second degree if you entered a building or public lands knowing that you were not authorized to be there. There is no need for a person to demand that you leave as in Criminal trespass in the first degree. Since no express order to leave the property is required as in Criminal trespass in the first degree often there can be defenses raised to prosecutions under this statue under the theory that the accused lacked knowledge that they were not authorized to be where they were arrested. This statute is commonly employed to arrest people who are visiting public housing projects which have signs posted saying that only residents and guests can be present. Also, many parks close at a certain hour and have a sign posted at the entrance stating the hours that the park is open. Often the police will issue summons to people who had no idea that the park was closed because they did not see the sign when they entered. For these reasons if you have been charged with criminal trespass in the second degree you should contact a top Stamford criminal defense attorney to defend against this charge. Criminal trespass in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000 fine and probation.Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree
The statutory citation for Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree is 53a-109. You can be charged with criminal trespass in the third degree if you either, with knowledge that you were not authorized to do so:
- Enter or remain upon private or state property which was posted, fenced or enclosed in a manner to exclude intruders.
- Enter land attached to any state institution.
- Enter or remains on any property for the purpose or hunting, trapping or fishing.
While this is the least serious level of criminal trespass it is still a criminal offense and a conviction will still leave you with a criminal record. It is classified as a class C misdemeanor for which you could face up to 3 months in jail and a $500 fine. If you have been charged with any level of criminal trespass you should know that a conviction would leave you with a criminal record. These are serious offenses but there are many defenses available to fight these charges so you should retain the services of a Stamford criminal defense attorney to review all the facts of your arrest and start to put together a defense strategy to get your charges dismissed or reduced. These charges are some of the easiest cases to defend against so you never want to plead guilty and pick up a criminal record without first speaking to an experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer to review your options. Finally, you do not want to burn or use up your accelerated rehabilitation program on one of these charges before you explore every possible option of having the charge reduced down to a noncriminal charge.Defending Criminal Trespass Charges
If you have been charged with criminal trespass then you should contact a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer with more than 30 years of experience in defending criminal trespass allegations at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. Call today for a free initial consultation.
In many situations the Police may not bother to drive you downtown to formerly “book you” on a criminal trespass allegation. They simply just hand you a misdemeanor appearance summons instead. Do not be mistaken, this is also an “arrest.” Despite the fact that they did not formally “book you” there is still a permanent criminal arrest record as a result. Do not let the casual nature of the encounter lure you into an false sense of comfort because a conviction will leave you with a criminal record.
One bright side to being charged with a criminal trespass charge is these charges lend themselves to a wide range of effective defense strategies and methods that can lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges. All of the criminal trespass statutes (with the exception of the ones dealing with violation of protective and restraining orders) require knowledge on behalf of the accused that you were not authorized to be upon the premises that you were arrested at. This is an area that top Stamford criminal defense lawyers will highlight when defending against these charges as often proving your “knowledge” is a very hard burden for the State. For example if you stayed late at a park that had a sign that stated it closed at dusk how can the State prove that you saw that sign or were aware of the rule?
Furthermore, criminal trespass has its own companion statute of “affirmative defenses” to the crime which will exonerate you. The statutory citation is Connecticut General Statues Section 53a-110. This statue provides three defenses to the crime of criminal trespass:
- The building was abandoned.
- The premises were open to the public and the accused complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to remaining on the premises.
- The accused reasonably believed that he had authority from the owner to be there.
Your starting point is to contact a Stamford criminal defense attorney to obtain a through and complete review of all of the facts of your case, the police report and the witness statements and see if the State has enough evidence to prove the allegations against you. The next step is to preserve and obtain any surveillance or video coverage of the crime which may prove invaluable in proving your case.
After reviewing all this information, and being fully briefed on the details of your case your Connecticut criminal defense lawyer will be ready to advise you on the best way to resolve your case.Reducing Your Charge to the Infraction of Simple Trespass
If we can’t convince the State’s Attorney to drop or nolle the charges outright based upon all the evidence which we have gathered then the fall back plan is to negotiate a reduction of the criminal charge of criminal trespass to the non criminal infraction of simple trespass. Assuming that no property damage occurred and that no restitution is owed to any victim very often the State will be willing to reduce the charge to the infraction charge of simple trespass. Your Stamford criminal defense attorney should put together a short but persuasive presentation to the State’s Attorney about your life and why they should give you a “break” because this event was an isolated incident in an otherwise law abiding life and you have a good explanation for why this event occurred. Also, in some cases we have been able to negotiate with the State a dismissal of the charges in exchange for the client performing community service hours. Keep in mind that having the charges dropped of reduced to the infraction of simple trespass is the best way to avoid a criminal record while maintaining the option to use the accelerated rehabilitation program opportunity in the future. The accelerated rehabilitation program in my opinion should only be used as a last resort with a charge as minor as criminal trespass and then only if you have exhausted every other possible alternative option of resolving the case.Let Us Fight Your Criminal Trespass Charge!
Your initial consultation is always free. When you schedule your free initial consultation we will review all of the facts of your case. We have more than 30 years of experience in handling criminal trespass charges in Courts all over the State . Having an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney to fight your charges will make the difference in having the case dismissed or reduced down to a lesser charge
Our legal fees are very reasonable and we offer payment plans.
So, if you been arrested for criminal trespass in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Cos Cob, Fairfield, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Bridgeport and throughout the County of Fairfield do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation. We are available 24/7. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.