+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Rurouni is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1

    Criminal/Defiant Trespass Inquiry

    Greetings, everyone.

    I live and was recently cited in Pennsylvania.

    My friend and I climbed a pipe on the side of a shopping center to gain access to the roof of the establishment. We proceeded to move around on the roof for no longer than ten minutes before descending willfully and without knowledge of anyone who was made aware of our presence. Upon our descent it became evident that the police had been called some time shortly after we climbed to the roof. They arrived a few minutes after we had descended.

    The police did not see us on the roof, but would have the testimony of a person who was on break who saw us climb down and the testimony of the store manager who also made his way to the roof in pursuit of my friend and I (although I do not believe he saw us) as a result of hearing us from the inside of the store.

    We were issued a citation for the trespassing. The officer informed us that it is for “Criminal Trespassing” with a subsection of “Defiant Trespassing”. Nowhere on the form is it indicated that this was indeed to be considered as “Defiant Trespassing”.

    The citation states, and is practically copied verbatim from § 3503 Criminal trespass ([url=http://law.onecle.com/pennsylvania/crimes-and-offenses/00.035.003.000.html]Criminal trespass - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3503 - Pennsylvania Attorney Resources - Pennsylvania Laws[/url]), and I quote: “Def. Did knowing he is not licensed or privileged to do so, remained in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders, to witi (?) climbed a pipe to gain access to shopping center roof.”

    Defiant Trespassing encompasses: (i) actual communication to the actor (which was not performed); (ii) posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders (there were no signs); (iii) fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

    I realize that I may simply be arguing semantics in saying that there are no fences around the building or any other “enclosures” (unless the building itself is considered an enclosure), but to what extent does the description of this law depend on interpretation and circumstantial assignation?

    Moreover, the fines are totaling around 300 dollars which I find to be inordinately exorbitant. It seems as though the judge reviewed the case and assigned an arbitrary value based on the reported nature of the offense. We have not been to court for this, and initially considered pleading guilty and simply paying the fine. With the advent of the fine’s factual value it seems worth contesting. I do not wish to argue the fact that I was on the roof, I simply do not agree with the description of the charge, the quantity of the fine, and the nature of the inherent assumptions of the magistrate.

    My questions are manifold, and I will restate them for clarity.
    1) Am I at fault for the crimes of which I have been accused (semantically or ethically)?
    2) Is this fine unreasonable?
    3) Do I have a legitimate case, at least to reduce the sentence?
    4) How will this charge appear on my “record”?

    Thank you for your time and consideration.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    16,328
    Does your citation specifically list? 3503 (b) is defiant tresspass. (b.1) is simple tresspass. What were you doing on the roof?

    One could argue the fact you had to climb up a drain pipe to get there indeed was an enclosure. Both are subsections are summary offenses. $300 (if that includes the inherent costs) is quite reasonable.

    I don't think you can get this reduced.

    Summary offenses usually don't end up on most criminal record checks except if someone goes to great means to find them.
  3. #3
    LeeHarveyBlotto is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,137
    Funny that the criminals think they should have input regarding the penalties for their crimes.
  4. #4
    outonbail is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,515
    Many buildings have a ladder going to the roof and it will often have a panel locked to the lower portion which prevents unauthorized individuals from climbing up and gaining access to the roof. In a case like this, the locked barrier that prevents access to the ladder would qualify as an enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

    Now if no such roof access is present, then the normal access is probably gained from inside the store and in an area which is off limits to the general public and probably locked as well. So here again, this would meet the requirements of the section you are charged under.

    I can think of no legitimate reason for anyone to climb a drainage pipe to gain access to the roof of a business, unless they are planning and/or committing a burglary, or intend to vandalize the property.

    You will have a hard time convincing anyone you were just sunbathing up there.

    If you did climb up there just for kicks and had no intention of returning at a later date to burglarize the place or spray graffiti on every flat surface, this is a really stupid thing to do.
    If the local police have been dealing with a number of burglaries where access was gained through the roof to commit the burg, you will now be suspects in those crimes as well.
  5. #5
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    St. Odo of Cluny Parish
    Posts
    29,533
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeHarveyBlotto View Post
    Funny that the criminals think they should have input regarding the penalties for their crimes.
    Especially when a burglary charge could've been possible.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  6. #6
    vitoxvirus is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1
    i plead not guilty, and i sat my fines out in jail for this and i just got my papers notifying me of my court date. could anyone possibly tell me what is most likely going to happen at my trial and if there is ANY possible jail time?

    thank you.
    Brian D.
  7. #7
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    16,328
    Quote Originally Posted by vitoxvirus View Post
    i plead not guilty, and i sat my fines out in jail for this and i just got my papers notifying me of my court date. could anyone possibly tell me what is most likely going to happen at my trial and if there is ANY possible jail time?

    thank you.
    Brian D.
    In honor of the recently departed Mr. Coleman: Watchu talking about?
    You post a incomplete message as a followup to a two year old thread.
    Abandon this and if you have a question, create a new thread and indicate what exactly you were charged with and WHAT STATE you're talking about.

    Don't post here anymore.

Similar Threads

  1. Criminal Trespass
    By slf120529 in forum Other Crimes – Federal and State
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-08-2012, 10:31 PM
  2. PA Criminal Trespass
    By sporty88 in forum Other Crimes – Federal and State
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-13-2010, 08:16 AM
  3. Defiant/Criminal Trespass
    By mrmanheim in forum Juvenile Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-23-2009, 09:37 AM
  4. criminal trespass
    By Willie D in forum Arrests, Searches, Warrants & Procedure
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-16-2008, 09:09 AM
  5. Criminal Trespass
    By rebecca24 in forum Juvenile Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-02-2008, 02:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.