Criminal Trespass In The First Degree: NY Penal Law § 140.17

by ECL Writer
Criminal Trespass In The Third Degree

Criminal trespass is the act of accessing or residing on another person’s property without permission. If you do and are in possession of a weapon, you will be charged with first-degree criminal trespass. Criminal trespass in the first degree is a crime in New York and is defined as knowingly entering or residing on another’s property while:

  • Possessing a deadly weapon or explosives, or
  • Possessing a firearm, or knowing another participant is in possession

A knife, dagger, billy, blackjack, plastic or metal knuckles, as well as any loaded weapon from which a shot may be released, are all examples of lethal weapons under New York Penal Law § 10.00(12).

Eg: Emily walks into a large tech company’s headquarters and insists on seeing the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). She is concerned about the company’s data privacy practices and wants to voice her grievances directly to the CTO. The receptionist politely informs her that appointments are required for such meetings and asks her to leave. Emily refuses to leave the premises. When security personnel approach her to escort her out, Emily takes out a fake handgun and threatens to harm herself if she is not granted an audience with the CTO. Emily could potentially face charges of criminal trespass and possibly a charge related to brandishing a fake weapon, depending on local laws.

Criminal Trespass In The First Degree Sentence

The maximum term for first-degree criminal trespass is 7 years in jail because it is a class D felony. Your prior criminal history has a significant impact on whether you are sentenced to prison and how long you must serve there. The judge might not sentence you to any prison term at all if you haven’t had any prior felonies within the last ten years. Your punishment might only be probation. The judge will sentence you to at least 2-4 years in prison if you have at least one recent felony conviction.


Because the phrase “deadly weapon” is defined very specifically under New York’s Penal Law, the prosecution must prove that the item you were in possession of was in fact a deadly weapon if you are accused of criminal trespass in the first degree based on having one. You can successfully contest a first-degree criminal trespass allegation if the prosecutor is unable to do so.

New York Penal Law § 140.17: Criminal Trespass In The First Degree

A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building, and when, in the course of committing such crime, he:

  • Possesses, or knows that another participant in the crime possesses, an explosive or a deadly weapon; or
  • Possesses a firearm, rifle or shotgun, as those terms are defined in section 265.00, and also possesses or has readily accessible a quantity of ammunition which is capable of being discharged from such firearm, rifle or shotgun; or
  • Knows that another participant in the crime possesses a firearm, rifle or shotgun under circumstances described in subdivision two.

Hiring A New York Lawyer For Criminal Trespass In The First Degree Case

Hiring a New York lawyer for a criminal trespass in the first-degree case is crucial to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal system. First-degree trespass involves unlawfully entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime or knowingly entering and remaining unlawfully. New York’s penal code imposes severe penalties for this offense, including potential prison time.

A skilled New York lawyer will assess the evidence, challenge any illegal searches or due process violations, and build a strong defense strategy. They can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or explore alternative resolutions. Your lawyer’s expertise is your best defense against the serious consequences associated with a first-degree criminal trespass charge in New York.

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