Massachusetts law defines trespassing as entering the property of another, or remaining on property, once the owner gives you notice to leave. As in most states, trespassing is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts, subject to a fine and a potential jail term. Chapter 266 of the Massachusetts General Laws governs property crimes, including trespassing. It describes various types of trespassing as well as the penalties for violating the laws.
Section 120 of Chapter 266 defines a trespasser as anyone who, without right, enters or remains on someone else's property after someone with lawful control over the property forbids it. It defines property as any dwelling, building, boat, enclosed land, wharf or pier. The section also applies to school buses. A direct warning or posted signs serve as notice to a trespasser. The punishment for violating Section 120 is a fine of not more than $100 and up to 30 days in jail.
Section 121A applies to vehicle trespassing. Vehicle trespassing refers to entering the private property of another, without right, by using a vehicle. For example, it could be vehicle trespassing when you park in someone's driveway without an invitation. The punishment is a fine of not more than $250.
Section 123 refers to trespassing on Massachusetts state land and public institutions. It defines trespassing in the same manner as Section 120. The fine is not more than $50 but the potential jail term is up to three months.
Section 118 refers to domestic animal trespassing. Anyone in charge of domestic animals, such as cattle, sheep or goats, who allows them to enter or graze on the land of another can be found guilty of trespassing. The fine is small though, as the statute allows for a fine of not more than $10.
Section 115 governs trespassing in orchards or gardens. If you enter the orchard, nursery or garden of another and destroy trees or plants, or steal fruit or flowers, you can be found guilty of trespassing. The penalty is a fine of not more than $500 or six months in jail.
Michael Scott is a freelance writer and professor of justice studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a former prosecutor. Scott has a J.D. from Emory University and is a member of the Utah State Bar. He has been freelancing since June 2009, and his articles have been published on eHow.com and Travels.com.