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Am I A Victim of Trespassers?

Florida State Trespassing Laws.

T

he topic of trespassing can be a muddy one. It’s sometimes difficult distinguish a clean line between what your rights are as a property owner, and what the rights of civilians are. But still, trespassing is a very serious offense if prosecuted. Trespassing in the state of Florida is considered a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by law. If the person trespassing is carrying a weapon, that charge escalates to a third degree felony. As you can see, situations can intensify very quickly, and it is important to be informed.

So what is trespassing exactly? It is when a person enters privately owned property without permission. Trespassing becomes an issue between what is private and what is public property. Private property is owned by a specific person or group whereas public is state property. Luckily, the state of Florida has some of the most clearly outlined trespassing laws in the U.S. For a complete list of the Florida Trespassing code, including the Miami Dade County, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton areas, click here.

Anyone owning private property has the right to deny access to any one person and when a person enters the property without being granted permission, it becomes trespassing.

In the state of Florida there are two ways a person can be accused of trespassing. One, entering privately owned property without permission and two, willfully returning or ignoring a warning to stay off property.

Here are some things you should know about trespassing:

  1. Using signage such as “No Trespassing” signs can help to ward off unwanted visitors. It is lawful to remove or damage the No Trespassing signs of property owners. These signs should be placed every 500 feet along the property line. The lettering should be visible from before the property line, and the letters must be at least two inches tall.

  2. If your property is less than five acres and contains a house or dwelling, it is not necessary to include posted signs. Your property is automatically deemed “private”.

  3. As a property owner, you have the right to ask anyone to leave your property. If they refuse, or return without permission, you are able to press charges. This form of trespassing happens often for intoxicated troublemakers a night clubs and bars.

  4. Believe it or not, walking on railroad tracks is actually considered trespassing. In 2013, the state of Florida had 46 casualties and 26 fatalities caused by reckless railroad track trespassers. This is the fourth highest number in the United States.

  5. In some very rare cases, if a building has been deemed abandoned and no owner (neither the state, nor person) has claimed responsibility for the property, there will be no way to press charges for those who enter the property.

It is possible to allow select individuals to enter private or posted property if the need arises. Permits can be obtained from the city, or as an owner, you can provide written permission to the individual. Most of the time, signs marking a property as private and not open to the public will be obeyed. In rare cases where trespassers tend to ignore those signs, it is possible to get law enforcement involved by calling 911.

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