There are a number of different property crimes outlined in the Pennsylvania criminal code. Trespassing can be one of the more serious of these offenses. This statue is defined under 3503 of the Pa criminal code and it outlines a number of different actions that can constitute a charge of trespassing. Under the first section of the statute, offenses that occur in occupied buildings or structures carry the most serious consequences. It is similar to burglary in that the individual who commits this offense enters, breaks into, or somehow gains access to an area that they are not permitted to be in. The difference between the two charges is that in burglary, there is an intention to commit a felony, whereas in this type of trespass, that element does not need to be proven. A charge of trespass under this section would constitute a felony of the second or third degree depending largely on the circumstances that surround the incident. Under the second section of this statute, there are a number of different types of trespassers defined. The first type of trespasser is what they term a defiant trespasser. A defiant trespasser is essentially a trespasser who has been warned in some type of way not remain on the premises, but defies the orders. Once again, depending on the circumstances being charged as a defiant trespasser can range from a summary offense, to a misdemeanor of the first degree. The next type of trespasser is a simple trespasser. A simple trespasser is someone who remains on the premises they are not allowed to be on, for the purposes of threatening the land owner, starting a fire, or vandalism. Being charged as a simple trespasser is a summary offense. Built into the statute are a number of different defenses that would, if proven, help you beat the charge. These defenses are that the building or structure was abandoned, the premises at the time were open to the public and the individual’s behavior complied with all laws, or the individual had a reasonable belief that the owner of the premises would allow them to be there. Due to the ranging penalties and varying defenses that can be raised, it is important to seek legal representation if you have been charged with a violation of this statue. The attorneys at Bellwoar Kelly, LLP are experienced attorneys who will fight for the best possible resolution given the facts of your particular case.