No Trespassing Sign on brick wall

Trespassing

Trespassing is a legal term that covers a wide range of potential offenses, both criminal and civil in nature.

Given that trespassing can be linked to a wide variety of crimes, understanding the ins and outs of the penalties you could be charged with if found trespassing can only be fully accomplished by looking at trespassing laws for your specific state. If you’ve been found trespassing on a property or piece of land you weren’t supposed to be and have been arrested, you may require the usage of a bail bonds company to assist you or someone you know in being released from jail on bail. The process is a simple one. A judge will set a bail amount, ten percent of which will need to be paid to the bail bonds company. Once this bail is paid, the defendant will be released from jail pending a trial. It is, however, important to note that the defendant must return to court on the date they’ve been provided with. In most cases, trespassing is a crime that carries with it rather light punishments, which will be further detailed in the following.

Differences Between Criminal Trespassing and Civil Trespassing

The main factor that determines what charges are levied against you in the event of trespassing is whether the act of trespassing was a criminal act or a civil one. Criminal trespass laws are enforced by local police and sheriffs, while civil trespass laws denote that the only way for a person to be charged with a crime is if the landowner whose property was trespassed on files a lawsuit in court in order to obtain damages they believe they’re owed. A civil suit can be filed by the landowner even if a crime hasn’t actually been committed. In most cases, criminal trespassing laws are the more severe of the two yet vary state by state.

Identifying Intent and Consent

Whether the crime you’ve committed falls under criminal or civil trespass laws, a certain amount of intent is actually required for you to be charged with a crime. This basically means that a person can’t be charged with trespassing if they were wholly unaware that they were doing so. They will need to trespass knowingly onto property without having been given permission to do so. This knowledge can be obtained by the person trespassing on the land because they were told by the property owner or because a no trespassing sign was situated somewhere on the property. Fenced land is also legally protected from trespassers.

In most cases, a person won’t be charged with a crime for trespassing if they leave immediately once the owner requests them to do so, if the land is actually open, and if the person trespassing didn’t dramatically interfere with the owner’s use of the property in question. Written or verbal consent can be given to a person that allows them usage of land, which is referred to as express consent. Implied consent could also be given in the form of the landowner’s circumstances or conduct. For instance, if a landowner fell from a ladder and suffered a serious injury, implied consent is given to anyone that spots the landowner and decides to help, which means that they can’t be tried for this action.

Potential Liability for the Homeowner

There are times when the homeowner might actually be liable for certain injuries the trespasser obtained while on the property, especially if the homeowner injured the trespassers on purpose. This is particularly common when the homeowner sets traps throughout their house or property in order to injure any trespassers that enter, including everything from bear traps to trip wires.

Anyone that wants to make sure they would never be liable for an injury obtained by a trespasser can take some legal steps to lessen the chances. For one, make sure that there is a “no trespassing” or “private property” sign in a visible place on the property. It’s also possible to install home security cameras around the property to protect from any intrusions. Additional options might be available, though you should first speak to an attorney to identify any state laws prohibiting acts like these.

Read More: What Does Trespassing Mean?

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