Criminal trespass kentucky

Criminal trespass kentucky DEFAULT

Kentucky: Statutory Criminal Law

For the purposes of KRS 434.840 to 434.860, the following words, including any form of the word, and terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Access” means to approach, instruct, communicate with, manipulate, store data in, retrieve or intercept data from, or otherwise make use of any resources of, a computer, computer system, or computer network;

(2) “Computer” means any device, equipment, or facility that uses a computer program or other instructions, stored either temporarily or permanently, to perform specific operations including but not limited to logical, arithmetic, or memory functions with or on data or a computer program that can store, retrieve, alter or communicate the results of the operations to a person, compute program, computer, computer system, or computer network;

(3) “Computer network” means any interconnection of two (2) or more devices used for the purpose of transmitting any combination of voice, video, or data including but not limited to bridges, routers, switches, antennas, or towers connected by hardwire or wireless communications lines;

(4) “Computer program” means a set of instructions or statements and related data that, when executed in actual or modified form, cause a computer, computer system, or computer network to perform specified functions;

(5) “Computer software” means computer programs, procedures, or associated documentation concerned with the operation of a computer, computer system, or computer network for system control or processing of data;

(6) “Computer system” means a set of related computer equipment, devices, data, software, or hardware that is designed to perform a specific function;

(7) “Data” means a representation of information, knowledge, facts ,concepts or instructions which are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalized manner, and is intended to be stored or processed, or has been stored or processed, in a computer, computer system, or computer network;

(8) “Device” includes but is not limited to an electronic, magnetic, electrochemical, biochemical, hydraulic, optical, or organic object that performs input, output, or storage functions by manipulation of electronic, magnetic, or other impulses;

(9) “Effective consent” means consent by a person legally authorized to act for the owner. Consent is not effective if it is:

(a) Induced by deception or coercion;

(b) Given by a person who the actor knows is not legally authorized to act for the owner;

(c) Given by a person who by reason of age, mental disease or defect, or intoxication is known by the actor to be unable to make responsible property or data dispositions; or

(d) Used for a purpose other than that for which the consent is given;

(10) “Financial instruments” includes but is not limited to any check, draft, warrant, money order, certificate of deposit, negotiable instrument, letter of credit, bill of exchange, credit or debit card, transaction authorization mechanism, marketable security, or any electronic representation thereof;

(11) “Intellectual property” includes data, text, images, sound, codes, computer programs, software, or databases which may be in any form, including but not limited to, computer printouts, magnetic storage media, punched cards, or which may be stored internally in the memory of a computer;

(12) “Loss or damage” means the result of accessing, attempting to access, or causing to be accessed, without effective consent, any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, including but not limited to theft, alteration, or destruction of data, security breaches, or disruption of services;

(13) “Owner” means a person who has title, license, or other lawful possession of the property, a person who has the right to restrict access to the property, or a person who has a greater right to possession of the property than the actor;

(14) “Property” includes but is not limited to intellectual property, financial instruments, data, computer programs, documentation associated with data, computers, computer systems and computer programs, all in machine-readable or human-readable form, and any tangible or intangible item of value; and

(15) “Services” includes but is not limited to the use of a computer, a computer system, a computer network, computer software, computer program, or data to perform tasks.


Timber theft and trespass are ongoing problems for woodland owners in Kentucky. Timber theft is the intentional stealing of timber. This involves a criminal trespass and a criminal theft. Timber theft can be criminally prosecuted as a felony and the owner having the timber stolen can seek restitution. Timber trespass is the unintentional harvesting and removal of timber. This occurs when a boundary line is unknowingly crossed in the woods and timber is removed.

Regardless of whether a timber theft or trespass occurs Kentucky has a civil law that provides the “rules” for compensation to landowners having their timber cut. Unfortunately, many local law enforcement agencies are not equipped to handle timber theft or trespass cases and the victim has to assume a significant amount of involvement (monetarily and time) in prosecution and/or settlement. Both woodland owners selling timber and woodland owners wanting to protect timber and woodlands need to understand the law, their risk factors for timber trespass and theft, how to decrease the chances for unauthorized cutting, and finally what to do and how to get help in case of timber issue.

Click on the titles of the following publications for more information on timber theft and trespass:

2016 Report on Timber Theft and Trespass in Kentucky
UK, Cooperative Extension Publication
This six page white paper provides up-to-date, credible, and verifiable information on timber theft and trespass issues in Kentucky.

Timber Trespass and Theft
UK, Cooperative Extension Publication FOR-109
This ten page publication provides detailed information and is recommended for a thorough understanding of theft and trespass. 

Timber Trespass and Theft – Quick Review
UK, Cooperative Extension Publication FOR 08-03
A two-page summary of timber theft and trespass.

Timber Trespass in Kentucky
Kentucky Woodlands Magazine 3(1)
An article from the Kentucky Woodlands Magazine summarizing issues associated with timber trespass and theft.

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A burglary conviction can result in a felony conviction with prison time. Learn about Kentucky's laws and penalties for burglary and criminal trespass.

Burglary typically involves two parts: an unlawful entry into a structure and intent to commit a crime inside. The related crime of trespass involves only the first element—the unlawful entry.

Every state defines these crimes slightly differently. Below, we discuss how Kentucky defines and penalizes burglary and trespass.

Burglary Crimes in Kentucky

In Kentucky, a person commits burglary by knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a building intending to commit a crime inside.

Building. The definition of building is much broader than its everyday meaning. Kentucky statute (law) defines it to include any structure, vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft where a person resides or where people assemble for business or other activities. Under this definition, a person can burglarize a house, office building, place of worship, school, RV, or houseboat, among other places.

Entering or Remaining Unlawfully

The first element of burglary can occur in one of two ways: entering unlawfully or remaining unlawfully.

Enter unlawfully. For an unlawful entry, a person doesn't need to physically break into a structure. It's enough to push open an ajar door or lift an unlocked window to be considered an "entry." The key is that the entry must be unlawful. Pushing open a partially opened door to grab someone's purse is an unlawful entry. Pushing the door open to check on someone yelling for help would not be. (Violating a court stay-away order can also constitute an unlawful entry.)

Remain unlawfully. A person can also commit burglary by remaining unlawfully in a building. Say a party host asks everyone to leave, but one of the guests hides in a closet intending to assault the party host. The guest's initial entry into the home was lawful but turned unlawful once the host personally communicated to everyone to leave and the guest didn't comply.

The law provides that a person who does any of the following remains unlawfully:

  • remains in a building despite losing their license or privilege to stay (such as remaining in a movie theatre after the show concludes)
  • fails to comply with a personal communication to leave (such as the party guest above or a customer who hides after the manager directs everyone to leave at store closing time), or
  • enters into an area of a public building that is closed to the public (such as going to a restaurant but sneaking into the employee breakroom or manager's office).

Intent to Commit a Crime

The second element of burglary concerns the defendant's state of mind at the time of entering or remaining in the building. To be convicted of burglary, the defendant must have decided to commit a crime before or upon entering the building unlawfully or while remaining unlawfully.

Typically, a prosecutor will need to prove the defendant's intent by using circumstantial evidence (unless the defendant confesses to having illicit intent). A person who enters a store through a back alley at night with tools, flashlights, and bags likely intends to steal. An angry ex-girlfriend who sneaks into her exes' apartment, through an unlocked window, carrying a bat likely has intent to assault the ex.

Penalties for Burglary in Kentucky

Kentucky divides burglary offenses into three degrees depending on the severity of the crime.

First-Degree Burglary

Burglary is a Class B felony if the defendant:

  • was armed with an explosive or deadly weapon
  • caused physical injury to another person, or
  • used or threatened to use a dangerous instrument against another person.

A person convicted of a Class B felony faces ten to 20 years in prison.

Second-Degree Burglary

Second-degree burglary involves burglarizing a dwelling (a place usually used for lodging, such as a house, apartment, RV, dorm, or houseboat). The crime is second-degree burglary whether or not the dwelling is occupied at the time of the offense. A Class C felony carries a prison sentence of five to ten years' imprisonment.

Third-Degree Burglary

Third-degree burglarycovers any burglary that isn't a first- or second-degree burglary. The offense is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years' imprisonment.

Possession of Burglar's Tools

A person who possesses any tool adapted, designed, or commonly used to forcibly enter into premises or physically steal something commits a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor carries a sentence of 90 days to one year in jail.

The prosecutor must establish that the circumstances under which the person possessed the tool leave no reasonable doubt that it was intended to facilitate burglary or theft. So, if a person keeps a crowbar in a back shed, that alone would not show the person intended to use it to break into a house. But, say the person is caught using a crowbar to forcibly break into the store of his ex-employer after being fired. These circumstances would likely show he possessed the crowbar intending to burglarize the store (and could lead to attempted burglary charges here as well).

(Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 511.010 and following (2020).)

Criminal Trespass in Kentucky

A person commits criminal trespass by entering or remaining on a property without permission but not intending to commit a crime.

Trespass can occur in a building (as defined under burglary) or upon any real property, which includes land or any structure regardless of its use. For land with no improvements on it, there's no trespass unless the area is fenced or has posted warnings.

An example of trespass includes hopping a locked fence to get onto someone's land. Notice that unlike burglary, for trespass, you don't need to intend to do anything illegal on the property (other than entering without permission) in order to be convicted of trespassing.

Penalties for Criminal Trespass

As with burglary, there are several degrees of criminal trespass. The penalties depend on the type of premises trespassed upon.

First-degree criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor and involves trespassing in a dwelling. A person also commits a Class A misdemeanor by entering a domestic violence shelter while subject to an order of protection. A person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor faces 90 days to one year in jail and a fine up to $500.

Second-degree criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor and includes trespassing into a building or onto other real property where notice against trespass has been given by fencing or other enclosure. A Class B misdemeanor carries up to 90 days' jail time and a fine up to $250.

Third-degree criminal trespass is a violation and includes any trespass not included above. Violations are fine-only offenses (no jail time possible) and punishable by up to a $250 fine.

(Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 511.010 and following, 532.090, 534.040 (2020).)

Talk to a Lawyer

If you have been charged with burglary, criminal trespass, or a related crime, or if you have questions about Kentucky laws, consult a qualified local criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review the unique facts of your situation and advise you on how the law will apply to your case.

FAILED INTIMIDATION, Law Enforcement on private property for civil dispute.

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