Criminal trespass is a common offense in domestic violence cases in Seattle. Given that a conviction can lead to jail time, fines, the loss of your parental rights, and lasting damage to your reputation, it is crucial to have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in your corner.
Jennifer Horwitz Law is a premier criminal defense practice serving clients throughout Washington. Lead attorney Jennifer Hortwtiz has extensive experience defending individuals against criminal trespassing and domestic violence charges. When your freedom and your future are in jeopardy, you need the powerful representation Jennifer provides. Contact her office today to get started.
When Criminal Trespass Becomes Domestic Violence in Washington
In Washington, it is a crime to come onto another person’s property without their permission and remain there when you are aware that your presence is illegal. This is referred to as criminal trespassing. When the individuals involved are family members. or share an intimate relationship, the crime can be charged as domestic violence.
There are two degrees of criminal trespassing under Washington law:
- Criminal trespass in the first degree can be charged when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building. In a domestic violence case, this typically involves entering the victim’s home.
- Criminal trespass in the second degree involves unlawfully entering or remaining upon property that is not a building, for example a car or land.
In short, criminal trespass charges can become domestic violence if you are accused of entering or refusing to leave a house, car, dwelling, or land of a family or household member, (e.g. spouses, ex-spouses, individuals in dating relationships, children, parents).
For example, you may be charged with criminal trespass if you knowingly enter or remain or illegally on another’s property after a reasonable request to leave by a law enforcement officer, the owner, or someone else who has lawful control over the property. Also, criminal trespass charges often arise when the perpetrator violates an order of protection.
If you have been charged with criminal trespassing, you need a strong legal defense to avoid a domestic violence conviction. This is the time to contact Jennifer Horwitz Law.
Seattle Criminal Trespassing Penalties
The penalties for criminal trespass are significant and additional penalties apply when domestic violence is involved.
Criminal trespass in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
Criminal trespass in the second degree is a misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to 90 days in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
When criminal trespass in either degree constitutes domestic violence, you could face additional charges and penalties. You may also be served with a restraining order that prevents you from returning to your home or having contact with your children.
Ultimately, being convicted for domestic violence means that you will have a permanent criminal, which could impact family law matters such as child custody and visitation. The best way to protect your rights is to have an experienced Seattle domestic violence attorney at your side.
How Jennifer Horwitz Law Can Help
If you have been charged with criminal trespassing and domestic violence, Jennifer Horwtiz will conduct a thorough investigation, carefully weigh the prosecution’s evidence against you, and choose the best line of defense. The strongest defense is to demonstrate that you reasonably believed that a family or household member allowed you to be on the property.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to show that you were falsely accused of domestic violence. False accusations are not uncommon in contentious divorce cases when one spouse tries to discredit the other spouse to gain an advantage in a divorce settlement or child custody determination.
Above all, Jennifer Horwitz will work to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Although she is committed to winning an acquittal, Jennifer may seek to have the charges and penalties reduced if doing so is in your best interests
Contact Our Experienced Seattle Criminal Trespass and Domestic Violence Attorney
Being arrested for domestic violence is a frightening experience, and a conviction can lead to the loss of your freedom and your rights. Even if you are not convicted, being accused of criminal trespass by a family or household member can have lasting repercussions.
Trust Jennifer Horwitz to provide you with informed representation and work to protect your rights and your reputation. Jennifer has a well-earned reputation as a dedicated advocate who knows her way around the courtroom. Contact Jennifer today so she can start working on your criminal trespassing defense.
Jennifer Horwitz is located in Seattle, WA, and also serves the areas in and around King County, Issaquah, Sammamish, and Bellevue.