Washington Criminal Trespass Laws
In Washington, it is a crime to enter and remain on another person's property without their permission when you are aware that your presence is unlawful. This is called criminal trespassing. When these crimes involve family members or people who share an intimate relationship, it can be considered a domestic violence charge. Under Washington law, there are 2 degrees of criminal trespassing:
- Criminal trespass in the first degree – Under RCW 9A.52.070 “A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building”. This law pertains to entering a building. In domestic violence situations, it often involves entering the home of the alleged victim.
- Criminal trespass in the second degree – Under RCW 9A.52.080 “A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree.” This involves entering any other property that is not a building. This could be a vehicle, land, etc.
If you have been accused of criminal trespass in Seattle, contact an attorney right away. Though the charges may seem less serious than other crimes, the penalties can still be great, especially when domestic violence is involved.
Seattle Criminal Trespassing Penalties
The penalties for criminal trespassing can be serious. In addition to your sentence, when domestic violence is involved, you could face additional charges, be served with a restraining order and other penalties.
According to Washington law, criminal trespass in the second degree is a misdemeanor and can result in the following penalties:
- A maximum jail sentence of 90 days
- A maximum fine of $1,000
Criminal trespass in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor. The penalties for a gross misdemeanor include:
- A maximum jail sentence of 1 year
- A maximum fine of $5,000
Criminal Trespass Defenses
As with any type of domestic violence charge, there are many defense options available to anyone charged with criminal trespass in Seattle. According to Washington law, there are several circumstances where criminal trespass laws do not apply. These include:
- If the building was abandoned
- If the property or building was open to the public at the time and the defendant followed the rules for access
- If the defendant “reasonably believed” that the property owner was allowing them to be present
If you have been accused of criminal trespassing in Washington, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi right now to find out more about your defense options. Attorney Karimi is an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer. He will take the time to meet with you and answer all of your questions. Call now to get started.