What is the Law on Trespass in Connecticut and What are the Punishments for it?
If you enter into a property belonging to someone else by mistake, is it an offense? This is a question that you may have had in your mind. Trespass is an offense when you enter into land or building that belongs to another person without their permission. It is possible that you may enter by mistake or unknowingly, in which case you need to leave as soon as the owner asks you to leave. Failure to do so is an offense. The punishment for trespass depends on the laws outlined in the statutes of the respective state.
Trespass Laws in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, the 2018 Connecticut General Statutes Title 53A Penal Code Chapter 952 Part VIII deals with trespass, burglary, and related offenses. In Connecticut, criminal trespass is categorized under three categories – first degree, second degree, and third degree.
The act of first-degree criminal trespass is an offense where a person enters property or land belonging to another and remains there even though there is no authorization to enter or stays there even after the owner asks him to leave. It is an offense when a person not permitted to enter a property enters and remains there. This is also applicable in the case of public property where an order to leave issued by an authority is not followed. First-degree criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor as per the Connecticut laws.
Second-degree criminal trespass is applicable when a person enters or stays in a building or public land knowing that he does not have the permission to do so. Second-degree criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor under the Connecticut laws.
Third-degree criminal trespass is applicable for an offense where a person gets in or stays in a property where he is not authorized to do so. It is an offense where the premises are enclosed or fenced. Entering public land that is fenced and enclosed without approval is also considered a third-degree criminal trespass. Anyone committing this offense is guilty of committing a Class C misdemeanor. If a person commits third-degree trespass for the purpose of fishing or hunting, it is then categorized as a Class B misdemeanor.
A person would defend himself from prosecution in trespass cases if the building entered is abandoned. It is also not an offense, if at the time of entry, the property was open to public and entry was made as per rules. A defense to prosecution is that the person believed that the owner of the premises would have permitted him to enter.
The law in Connecticut also defines the offense of simple trespass. While in criminal trespass, there is a criminal intention involved, in simple trespass there is no such intention defined. When a person not permitted to enter a premise enters and remains there without meaning to create harm, then it is defined as simple trespass. As per Connecticut law, it is considered an infraction.
Punishment for Trespass in Connecticut
In Connecticut, trespass is a misdemeanor. The punishments as per the law for the different types of trespass are:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for a period of not more than one year.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for a period of not more than six months.
- Class C Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for a period of not more than three months.
Simple trespass is an infraction. It is not an offense and the only punishment for an infraction is a fine that would be levied by the judge.