October 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense
If you have been charged with criminal trespass, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered onto another’s property without legal authority, with knowledge that you were not permitted to do so, and remained there without permission.
A trespass charge is a criminal offense under Kentucky law, and it may carry severe consequences. Before going to court on a trespass offense, a skilled Kentucky criminal defense lawyer can speak with you about your options, including potential penalties, defenses to the charge, and ways to resolve it.
Understanding Criminal Trespass in Kentucky
The crime of “trespass” is defined under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 511.080 as the unlawful entry onto another’s property without their consent after notice, either orally or through posted signs, that their entry or presence on the property is prohibited.
There are several degrees of criminal trespass under Kentucky law, including:
- First Degree: Trespassing into a dwelling, whether it is occupied or not, with the intent to commit a crime therein, or while in possession of a deadly weapon.
- Second Degree: Trespassing onto someone’s land or property after having been forbidden to do so by the landowner, the lessor, or the agent for the property owner.
- Third Degree: Trespassing by remaining on another’s property after having been asked to leave the premises.
The lower the degree, the more serious the punishment for the crime.
Potential Defenses to Criminal Trespass Charges
There are numerous defenses to a criminal trespass charge that a defense lawyer can raise on your behalf, each of which depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. First, one could argue that the physical act of trespassing – entering onto the land of another – was done without criminal intent, meaning, the defendant lacked any intention to go through the property. Perhaps the defendant was mistaken, lost, or under the belief that the property was abandoned or permitted egress.
Second, a defendant can argue that the owner gave consent to enter onto or remain on the property, through evidence of a lease, a signed note, or some other communication. The defense of consent arises often in property disputes between neighbors or with lessees.
Finally, a defendant can argue lack of notice. Often, unless there is posted notice, it is difficult to show that the landowner had given the defendant prior, express notice that the defendant had been banned from a particular property. Further, even with posted notice, the signage may be non-obvious or obscured.
The Role of a Defense Lawyer in a Criminal Trespass Case
A criminal defense lawyer in Kentucky can evaluate the facts, evidence, and circumstances surrounding the allegations of trespass to weaken the government’s case and develop potential defenses of lack of intent, mistake, consent, or insufficient notice in order to seek dismissal of the criminal trespass charge.
By developing case strategies and defenses, the defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to minimize the potential consequences, minimize or avoid active incarceration, or perhaps seek a deferred disposition to keep the charge off your record and avoid a conviction.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help
A charge of criminal trespass is a serious crime, especially depending on the degree of the offense under Kentucky law. You must speak with a Kentucky criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to begin preparing for court. A conviction for trespass may have far-reaching consequences for employment or educational opportunities.
By contesting the charge, a defense lawyer can help avoid incarceration or a conviction, and it is essential to speak with legal counsel early in the case to navigate your options. Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact the Lexington Criminal Case at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507