Unlawful Entry Lawyer: Protecting Your Rights and Property

Unlawful Entry Lawyer: Protecting Your Rights and Property

Unlawful entry is a crime that involves entering someone else’s property without their permission, with the intent to commit a crime or infringe upon the rights of the property owner. This offense, commonly referred to as trespassing, can carry significant legal consequences if not appropriately addressed. When charged with unlawful entry, it is essential to seek the guidance of a competent criminal defense lawyer to navigate the complex legal system and help protect one’s rights.

As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we understand the intricacies of trespassing laws and the implications of an unlawful entry charge for our clients. Our primary objective is to build a strong defense and to devise the best possible legal strategy, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each case. This can range from negotiating reduced charges to pursuing a complete dismissal of the charges.

Being charged with unlawful entry can be a distressing experience, with the potential for severe penalties and a lasting impact on one’s record in the event of a conviction. We take pride in our unwavering commitment to securing the best possible outcome for our clients, and providing them with the professional representation they deserve during this challenging time. Learn more about unlawful entry lawyer

Understanding Unlawful Entry Charges

The Definition and Elements of Unlawful Entry

Unlawful entry refers to the act of entering a building, structure, or any enclosed area without the consent of the owner, tenant, or lawful occupant. This criminal offense is distinct from trespassing and burglary, which we will discuss later. To establish an unlawful entry conviction, the prosecution must prove these elements:

  1. Entry: The accused individual has either physically entered or attempted to enter the building or enclosed space.
  2. Lack of consent: The entry was made without the permission or authorization of the owner, tenant, or lawful occupant.
  3. Intent: The individual had the intention to commit an offense, such as theft or damage, within the building or enclosed area.

Note: In some jurisdictions, unlawful entry charges can also be based on remaining in the building after a lawful entry if it is done with the intent to commit a crime.

Differences Between Trespass, Burglary, and Unlawful Entry

While these three crimes are often confused with each other, it is essential to understand their differences.

  • Trespass: Trespassing involves the unauthorized entry or remaining on any property, not just enclosed buildings or structures, with or without the intent to commit a crime. It is a lesser offense compared to burglary or unlawful entry. Penalties may include fines or imprisonment.


Property Type

Requires Intent to Commit a Crime?



Any property


Lesser offense

Unlawful Entry

Enclosed building or structure


Criminal offense


Private dwelling or building


More severe felony

  • Burglary: This crime involves the unauthorized entry into a private dwelling or building with the intent to commit a crime, usually theft or robbery. It is a more severe felony than trespass or unlawful entry and may carry more significant penalties.

As the table above shows, unlawful entry occupies a middle ground between trespass and burglary. It is a criminal offense with more specific conditions than trespassing and less severe consequences than burglary.

Understanding these distinctions will help us more effectively address our clients’ cases and explore possible defenses, such as a lack of intent, consent from the owner, or using the premise for innocent purposes.

Legal Ramifications and Defense Strategies

Possible Penalties and Consequences for a Conviction

If convicted of unlawful entry, the repercussions can be severe. Depending on the jurisdiction, the penalties can vary. For instance, in California, unlawful entry is considered a misdemeanor, while in Washington D.C., it may be treated as a felony. Some potential penalties for being found guilty of unlawful entry are:

  • Jail time: A conviction may lead to imprisonment, with sentences ranging from a few months to several years.
  • Fines: Fines can often reach into the thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Criminal record: A conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, impacting future job opportunities and housing options.

Common Defenses Against Unlawful Entry Accusations

There are numerous defense strategies that can be employed to contest an allegation of unlawful entry. A few common defenses include:

  1. Lack of intent: Asserting that the defendant had no intent to commit a crime while on the property.
  2. Lawful authority: Demonstrating that the defendant was given permission to enter by the property owner or a law enforcement agency.
  3. Misidentification: Challenging the accuracy of witness accounts and asserting that the defendant was not on the property without authorization.
  4. Innocence: Maintaining the defendant’s innocence and providing evidence or witnesses that support their alibi.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Unlawful Entry Cases

The role of a criminal defense lawyer in an unlawful entry case is crucial. Here are some key responsibilities of a defense attorney:

  • Evaluating the case: In the early stages of a case, we assess the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime and determine the best defense path.
  • Communicating with the prosecution: We maintain open lines of communication with the prosecution to negotiate a potential plea agreement or dismissal of the charges.
  • Gathering evidence: Throughout the process, we diligently gather evidence, such as police reports, surveillance footage, and witness statements, to strengthen the defense.
  • Challenging the prosecution: We scrutinize the evidence and testimony presented by the prosecution, seeking to disprove their allegations and establish reasonable doubt.
  • Presenting the defense: In court, our role is to advocate for our client, presenting a strong defense and arguing for the most favorable outcome possible.

When facing charges of unlawful entry, enlisting the help of an experienced D.C. unlawful entry lawyer is essential. Having skilled legal representation by your side can greatly improve your chances of a successful defense and help you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system.