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How do I know if I am a trespasser on someone else’s property?

Residents of Florida often enjoy exploring the wide open spaces that exist between the state’s metropolitan centers. With a dearth of lakes and trails to explore, individuals can seemingly wander for days. In many situations, the actions of an explorer will keep him on safe, publicly owned land. However, if his adventures take him off of ordinary paths he may cross onto the land of private citizens.

When a person moves onto the property of another person without the property owner’s permission he may have committed trespassing. Trespassing offenses can be civil or criminal and can be punished in different ways. Generally, in order to have trespassed onto the property of another person several different factors must be present.

First, a trespasser usually must know that he is crossing onto land where he is not supposed to be. Either the property owner must have told him not to be on the land or there must be fences or signage that indicates individuals should not breach the borders of the land; accidental trespass is often not penalized in civil and criminal courts.

Second, a trespasser must intend to trespass for the offense to occur. This requirement goes hand in hand with the prior requirement; knowledge and intent of trespassing generally indicate the presence of such an offense.

Finally, a trespassing offense may be defeated if the alleged trespasser had permission to be on the landowner’s property. Permission may be implied or explicit. Individuals with further questions about trespassing are encouraged to speak with civil attorneys who include premises liability cases in their practices.

An individual may now know if he is trespassing. If he jumps a fence, ignores a “no trespassing” sign or ignores the mandates of a property owner then he may have actual knowledge of his wrongdoing. If not he may not have any way of knowing if the land he is on is public or privately owned.