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No Trespassing Regulations: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What common laws/standards apply to no trespassing signs?

A.
For a no trespassing sign to be legally enforceable, it should comply with certain standards and regulations that differ across states.
It is ideal to check on your local laws to determine the exact requirements. However, some common elements may include the use of words like ‘No TRESPASSING’ and ‘PRIVATE PROPERTY’, keeping the letter height 2” at least, having the sign big enough to accommodate 2” high letters and be clearly visible, and installing the sign where intruders can easily see it. Signs are required to be placed in a highly conspicuous manner and multiple signs may be required along the boundaries of large properties at frequent intervals.

Q. Are no trespassing signs enforceable by law?

A.
Yes, no trespassing signs that are created as per the applicable standards and regulations imply legal actions in the event of violations. Each state has its own trespassing laws and set of standards that govern how the signs must be designed and the message that they should convey.
Signs also help the property owner by limiting legal or monetary liability in case of any accident on the property.

Q. Do no trespassing laws differ across states?

A.
No trespassing laws differ across states in their definition of a trespasser, communication of no trespassing, steps landowners should take to prevent trespassing, and signage requirements.
Our trespassing signs catalog includes a range of state-specific no trespassing signs that imply legal action in case of a violation.

Q. Is there a difference between trespassing and criminal trespassing?

A.
Trespassing or civil trespassing differs from criminal trespassing, in the sense that while civil trespassing implies entering someone’s area or property without permission, criminal trespassing is when one chooses to be in that area or property despite knowing that they are not authorized to. For instance, entering someone’s lawn unknowingly may be a trespass but jumping over a fence to enter and ignoring a no-trespassing sign constitutes a criminal trespass. Because of intent, as per state, the degree of punishment for regular trespass and criminal trespass also differ from just warnings to misdemeanor to felony.

Q. What can I do if I spot trespassing on my property?

A.
If you see someone trespassing on your property, the best thing to do is to simply inform the trespasser that they shouldn’t be there and ask them to leave. If this does not work, it would be a good idea to not get involved yourself but call the legal authorities for enforcement.
Since trespassing laws are different across states, your state and/or local ordinances may give you additional rights or protections. Please contact your local law enforcement authority for more information.

Q. Can trespassing occur on public property as well?

A.
Trespassing can occur on both private and public properties. While one might be inclined to think that public properties/buildings imply public access sans restrictions or permission, it is not always true. Certain public establishments may not be always open to the public, may have areas for which you need permission to enter, and may have other entry restrictions in place. Please refer to this resource for more information and clarity.
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Meet legal requirements by posting necessary trespassing signage around your property.
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