January 16, 2023 | Criminal Defense
Criminal trespassing is a serious offense that can lead to legal repercussions. Being charged with criminal trespass in Kentucky can be overwhelming and stressful, and it’s important to understand the different trespass charges and possible penalties.
If you need help with a criminal trespass charge, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer right away.
First-Degree Criminal Trespass in Kentucky
First-degree criminal trespass is a class A misdemeanor and involves knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling. The action of trespassing must be intentional for it to be considered first-degree criminal trespass. Merely entering the wrong building by mistake does not constitute first-degree criminal trespass.
It is a class A misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, along with a fine of no more than $500.
Second-Degree Criminal Trespass in Kentucky
Second-degree criminal trespass is a class B misdemeanor and includes knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in any building or other real property where there is fencing or other enclosure to keep unauthorized individuals out of the property.
If you’re convicted of second-degree criminal trespass, you can be sentenced to a maximum of three months of incarceration and fined up to $250.
Third-Degree Criminal Trespass in Kentucky
Third-degree criminal trespass is a violation and involves knowingly entering premises without permission. This type of charge typically occurs when someone walks onto another person’s property without permission but does not remain in that location for an extended period of time.
Penalties for third-degree criminal trespass include a fine of no more than $250.
Legal Defenses To Criminal Trespass in Kentucky
If you have been charged with criminal trespass, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about your chances of defending yourself in court. Fortunately, there are a variety of defenses that may be available to you if you are accused of this crime.
Here are some of the most common:
You Had Permission To Be on the Property
One of the most common defenses to criminal trespass is that the accused had permission from the owner or lawful occupant of the property to be there. This could mean that you were given explicit verbal or written permission or that you were allowed access by way of an open gate or door.
This defense can be particularly effective if it is backed up by witnesses who can testify that you were authorized to enter the property.
You Did Not Intentionally Enter the Property
Another possible defense against criminal trespass charges is that the accused did not intentionally enter the property. This could mean that you accidentally wandered onto someone else’s land without realizing it, or perhaps you entered unintentionally while pursuing some other activity (like hunting).
This defense should typically only be used as a last resort as it requires providing evidence of a lack of intent, which can often be difficult to do in court.
Your Action Was Strictly Necessary To Prevent a Public Disaster
If you’re arrested and charged with criminal trespass, your defense team can argue that your trespass was done in necessity. You need to prove that your action was necessary to prevent an imminent public disaster.
This applies if you entered someone’s private property in order to save lives or avert a catastrophe (such as a gas leak). However, this defense can also be difficult to prove since it involves demonstrating both immediacy and necessity.
Someone Else Committed the Offense
Another potential defense for criminal trespass is misidentification. This involves showing evidence that someone else committed the offense.
For example, if there is video footage of someone entering a property but it doesn’t clearly show who it was, this would serve as strong evidence in your favor. It should also be noted that misidentification isn’t just limited to video footage—eyewitness testimony can also help support this defense.
Contact a Lexington Criminal Defense Lawyer If You’ve Been Charged With Criminal Trespass
Criminal trespass is a serious offense and can result in lasting consequences. By understanding the relevant elements of criminal trespass and the potential defenses available, individuals may be able to better protect themselves against these types of charges.
If you need help with a criminal trespass charge, contact a Lexington criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507