Were you intoxicated at a bar, and didn't leave when told to do so? Or did you leave the bar, and try to get back inside to link up with your friends against the wishes of bouncers or police officers? Maybe you just left your coat or debit card at the bar and wanted to get your items back. If so, you likely received a criminal complaint charging you with Defiant Trespass under Pennsylvania law. 

If you are charged or cited with a Defiant Trespass in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you at your preliminary hearing. Although misdemeanor or summary Defiant Trespass charges are less severe than felony Criminal Trespass offenses, there are still severe consequences that may apply if you are convicted. 

What is Defiant Trespass in Pennsylvania? 

Defiant Trespass is found under Section 3503(b) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, which provides that a person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:

  • (i) actual communication to the actor;

  • (ii) posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders;

  • (iii) fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders;

  • (iv) notices posted in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the person's attention at each entrance of school grounds that visitors are prohibited without authorization from a designated school, center or program official; or

  • (v) an actual communication to the actor to leave school grounds as communicated by a school, center or program official, employee or agent or a law enforcement officer.

How serious are my Defiant Trespass charges? 

Many Defiant Trespass cases originate in Pittsburgh when an individual refuses to leave a bar or restaurant after being told by a bouncer or police officer to leave on multiple occasions. When a person defies an order to leave a particular location from a property owner or other authorized person, then the Defiant Trespass is a 3rd Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500. 

When a person refuses to leave school grounds as communicated by a proper school official or police officer, this constitutes a 1st Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. 

All other types of Defiant Trespass, such as disobeying a "Do Not Trespass" sign, constitute summary offenses punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. 

How can the Zuckerman Law Firm help? 

One bad night should not define your future. Our firm has represented numerous college students, graduate students, and young professionals charged with misdemeanor Defiant Trespass offenses from the preliminary hearing through the expungement process. Our goal for every Defiant Trespass case is simple: seek a dismissal or reduction of this offense. 

For a free consultation, please call the Zuckerman Law Firm at 412-447-5580.