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What should I know about trespassing?

Trespassing is one of those areas of law that may seem confusing to some. Are you breaking the law if you cut through someone’s yard without permission? What if you are exploring an abandoned property? You and other Wisconsin residents should understand the potential criminal repercussions for trespassing.

As FindLaw explains, trespassing is against the law. To qualify as trespassing, you would need to knowingly enter the property without permission. There are several ways a property owner can convey an order to stay off the premises – installing a fence around the property, putting up signs and verbally warning you to get off the property are clear indications that you are not welcome there. You could be charged and face a fine and other consequences for remaining on the property after you are told to leave or for entering premises with a fence and posted notices.

You may, however, successfully defend yourself against a trespassing charge in some instances, such as the following:

  • Unknowingly crossing land that was not clearly marked as private property
  • Leaving immediately upon request, yet being charged anyway
  • Entering the property to prevent someone’s else’s injury or attempt to save a life

You should also realize that just because a building is abandoned, it does not mean you may enter to explore. “Urban exploring” is popular, yet can result in charges, because abandoned buildings are often dangerous or the owners may be preparing to make improvements and would not want intrusions.

You are entitled to seek a competent defense after any criminal charge, regardless of the circumstances. This post is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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