06 Jul 20

NY Penal Law § 140.17: Criminal Trespass in the First Degree

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Last Updated on: 5th August 2023, 01:32 am

No matter if it is someone’s home, business or some other type of property, it is against the law to enter or remain on property that belongs to someone else without having that person’s permission to be there. If you do this, then you will be trespassing. If you trespass and you have a weapon on your person, then you will be charged with criminal trespass in the first degree. Pursuant to New York Penal Law section 140.17, criminal trespass in the first degree is a felony offense and is defined as knowingly entering or remaining on the property of another and:
Being in possession of explosives or a deadly weapon, or
Being in possession of a firearm, or being aware that another participant is in possession
Under New York Penal Law section 10.00(12), some examples of deadly weapons include any loaded weapon from which a shot may be discharged, a knife, blackjack, dagger, billy, plastic knuckles, or metal knuckles.
An Example
Avi enters the lobby of the office building housing a particular biotech company. He walks up to the security desk and demands to speak to the CEO. What he explains is that he wants to discuss the company’s cruel use of animals in their experiments. The security guard asks Avi to leave the building. Avi refuses to follow the order. As the security approaches Avi to escort him out, he pulls out what appears to be an explosive and he threatens to blow up the whole building if he is not allowed to see the CEO right away. In this scenario, Avi could be prosecuted for criminal trespass in the first degree, because he unlawfully remained on the property and he had an explosive.
Offenses that are Related
Trespass: New York Penal Law section 140.05
Criminal trespass in the third degree: New York Penal Law section 140.10
Criminal trespass in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 140.15
Possible Defenses
If you face a charge of criminal trespass in the first degree on the basis of having a deadly weapon, because New York’s Penal Law has a very specific definition of the term “deadly weapon,” the prosecutor must demonstrate that the object you possessed was indeed a deadly weapon. If the prosecutor is unable to prove this, you have a good defense against a criminal trespass in the first degree charge.
The Sentence
Since criminal trespass in the first degree is categorized as a class D felony, the maximum sentence the judge can give you is 7 years in prison. Whether or not you are sent to prison and the length of time you will be required to spend there depends greatly on your prior criminal record. If you don’t have any prior felony convictions within the previous 10 years, it is possible for the judge to not sentence you to any prison time at all. Your sentence may include probation alone. On the other hand, if you do have at least one prior felony conviction within the last 10 years the judge will sentence you to at last 2-4 years in prison.