Table of Contents:
- What Are the Trespassing Laws of Maryland?
- Massachusetts Trespassing Laws
- Mississippi Trespassing Laws
- Kentucky Trespassing Law
General Trespassing Law
The general common law definition of trespassing is entering the property of another without consent or legal authority. This is the definition used in civil trespass court cases filed by property owners. In Maryland, criminal trespassing is defined in Section 6-401 of the Code.
Maryland Criminal Trespassing Laws
Section 6-402(a) prohibits trespassing on land of another where a sign has been posted at the entrance of a property. Sections 6-404 and 6-405 prohibit entering property with a vehicle without permission. These sections prohibit the use of off-road vehicles on public or private property without the property owner's consent.
Violation of the trespass law is a misdemeanor. Code Section 6-402(b)(1) provides that first-time violators can be sentenced to jail for up to 90 days and/or fined up to $500, as of 2010. Subsection (2) provides that second-time violators can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $1,000 when the violation occurs within two years after the first offense.
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.
Detailed Law Information
In the State of Mississippi any person who enters the land of somebody without consent or without being accompanied by the landowner, lessee of the land, or representing agent will be guilty of a misdemeanor or more, depending on intent. For example, if the trespasser enters the land to kill livestock, he or she will be prosecuted for criminal trespass.
According to the Mississippi code of 1972, as amended, first time offenders may face fines up to $250. Second time offenders who trespass within five years of the last offense, may face fines up to $500 dollars and imprisonment up to 30 days. Additional and stiffer penalties apply to those who trespass with criminal intent.
Trespassing laws do not apply to the landowner's or lessee's family, guests, or to personnel entering lands for lawful business purposes (for example land surveyors). Cases where trespassing will likely not result in a civil crime include a person who mistakenly trespasses into another property while believing to be on his own property. He is not guilty of trespassing. A person walking in the woods and mistakenly entering private property is another case the law will exclude.
In the State of Mississippi trespassing for the goal of hunting, fishing, and trapping on land without the landowner's consent is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and imprisonment. However, landowners can lease hunting rights which grant hunters access to land for a specified period of time, for a fee or in exchange of services.
Timber Trespass is the common term for actions that are actually trespassing and theft. Timber Trespass occurs when an individual knowingly or accidentally enters private property, cuts and removes timber. If you trespasses on property owned by another to cut or order another to cut timber for your own use, you must pay the land owner "three times the stumpage value of the timber, three times the cost of any damage to the property, and all legal costs the land owner incurs" pursuant to the trespass.
Under Kentucky law, any individual who knowingly enters a building and remains when he is not legally permitted or invited to do so is guilty of criminal trespass. It is also illegal to enter and remain on land protected by a fence or when a trespassing notice is posted on a sign that warns against trespassing. Criminal trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor. Illegally entering and remaining in a dwelling is a first degree Class A misdemeanor.
A land owner cannot be held liable for any injuries a trespasser sustains while on the real estate unlawfully. If the owner or an individual acting on his behalf intentionally inflicts injuries on a trespasser, the land owner can be held liable.
Liability for Trespassing Cattle
If a division fence is established by an agreement, each party is responsible to maintain his portion of the fence line. If a land owner fails to maintain his portion of the fence, he is liable for all damages sustained to the grass, trees, grain, cattle, crops or land of the other party as a consequence of trespassing cattle. A lien is placed on the cattle to ensure the party at fault makes reparations.
Trespass, Joint or Several Damages
When a civil suit is filed by a land owner seeking damages caused pursuant to a trespass, a jury may award joint and several damages against two or more defendants. Joint and several damages may be collected in full from one defendant or various amounts from different defendants until the judgment is satisfied.