People and businesses who frequently have unwanted visitors to their property use criminal trespass warnings to preserve their legal rights. Any property owner has the right to keep someone off his property by issuing a legal criminal trespass warning letter. This letter serves as the first and last warning to the offending person.
If the offender returns to the property, the owner can call the police to have the offender removed. In many cases, the police will arrest the offender and charge her with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.
Draft the Warning Component of the Letter
Write a Title and Contact Information
Title the document "Criminal Trespass Warning Letter." At the top, type the name of the business or your name, the phone number at which you can be reached, and the address of the property to be protected.
Describe the Incident
Describe the incident that justifies warning the person, including the time and date. Include the name of the witness and a description of the offending behavior that the witness observed.
Add the Warning Statement
Type the name of the person being warned. Follow that by typing the following statement: "[NAME], referred to hereinafter as "subject," has been warned of the following: Subject is not permitted to be on or around the address of the property listed above. Furthermore, subject has been warned that return to the property listed on the warning may result in arrest and prosecution by law enforcement."
Add Witnesses and Serve the Letter
Add a Line for the Subject's Signature
Add a blank line at the bottom of the letter for the offending subject. One line should read "Subject's signature" followed by a blank line. The subject should sign the letter. If she will not, write "Refused."
Add Information About the Subject
Type the name, date of birth and Social security number of the subject if this information is known.
Add Witness Information
Type the name of the witness who observed the subject's offending behavior, and include a blank line for his signature and the date he signed it. If there is more than one witness, type the name of the second witness and add a blank line for his signature and the date he signed it.
Give a Copy of the Letter to the Subject
Give a copy of the letter to the subject. If the subject is no longer present but you have an address because the police were involved in the incident that led to the trespass warning, then send the letter to the subject by certified mail. Certified mail will provide a receipt that can be admissible in court.
Make a Police Report
Make a police report of the trespassing incident, if one has not been already made. Retain a copy of the trespass warning letter for your own records.
A criminal trespass letter protects property, not people. The subject can still legally talk to you outside the business or home that he or she has been warned about. A restraining order is appropriate if you wish to avoid all contact.
It can be helpful to take a photograph of the trespasser to keep for your records. That way, the police will have a better description of the trespasser, as criminals often use fake names.
- It can be helpful to take a photograph of the trespasser to keep for your records. That way, the police will have a better description of the trespasser, as criminals often use fake names.
- A criminal trespass letter protects property, not people. The subject can still legally talk to you outside the business or home that he or she has been warned about. A restraining order is appropriate if you wish to avoid all contact.
Abdul Farukhi has been writing and reporting since 2001. His work has been featured in "The Daily Texan" newspaper and various online media outlets. Farukhi graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in government and economics and is a licensed attorney in the state of Texas.