Unlawful Entry in D.C.

Unlike burglary, which requires entry into a building or structure with intent to commit a crime, unlawful entry onto property/trespass involves mere presence on property without authorization or consent.  As such, it is a far less serious offense.

In order to secure a conviction for unlawful entry in D.C., the government muset prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered or attempted to enter a private dwelling, public building, or other property or remained on such property without lawful authority and against the will of the lawful occupant.  ”Private dwelling” is defined as a privately owned house, apartment, condo or any other building used as living quarters.  D.C. Criminal Code 22-3302.

Although this offense is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 180 days of imprisonment, most people charged with unlawful entry in D.C. — particularly first time offenders — should be eligible for what is called the “stet docket.”  According to this arrangement, the government puts the charges on hold for a period of time — usually six months.  If the defendant can stay out of trouble during that time period, the government will simply dismiss the charges.  Another alternative to trial would be for the defendant to enter into a “deferred prosecution agreement” (DPA).  The standard DPA involves 32 hours of community over a four-month period.  Again, the government will dismiss the charges after the conditions of this agreement have been satisfied.

If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience dealing with this type of case in D.C., please contact Jamison Koehler at 202-549-2374 or jkoehler@koehlerlaw.net.