Minnesota Trespassing Charges, Penalties, And Possible Defenses During Complicated Times

no trespassing signs

Trespassing Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Tensions among people, among neighbors, have been understandably high lately due to the socio-economic effects of the coronavirus and the current political atmosphere that has caused nation-wide protesting and even rioting. Many people are currently living in fear, whether it is justified or not, and are acting in ways contrary to their usual behavior.

These altered behaviors can sometimes lead to exaggerated emotions and allegations that may or may not be true when it comes to trespassing. Trespassing charges are serious and must be taken seriously. You must organize the most effective and essential defense available to protect you against these charges.

What Is Trespassing?

Trespassing is the intentional crossing onto private or public property after you have been asked to leave by the owner or the authorities. Posted signs on the property are considered a first warning. A person must know that they are trespassing, hence the warning, and intentionally continue the trespassing.

Activists during protests are given a little leniency and any people with authority, such as meter readers, police officers, and surveyors cannot be charged with trespassing while on the job.

Some trespassing charges are gross misdemeanors in Minnesota, which are more serious than the usual misdemeanor, and some can be considered felonies. The charges are taken more seriously and the penalties are harsher in gross misdemeanor and felonies, especially when other charges are involved.

Charges And Penalties

Minnesota Statute 609.605 outlines the crime of trespassing. A person is guilty of the crime if they:

  • allow their farm animals to use, or graze, on land owned by another
  • alter or ignore signs stating that the property is private
  • refuse to leave private land after a warning
  • enter any building on the property without permission from the legal owner of the property, especially when locked, unless it is an emergency
  • enter public property during closed hours
  • return to the public or private property without permission, especially to disturb the owners in some way

Felony charges can have vastly different penalties. A general misdemeanor can carry a fine of up to $1,000 and a 90-day jail sentence. Gross misdemeanor charges can cost you up to a year in prison with a fine of up to $3,000.

Possible Defenses

Did you know that private property signs are only considered legitimate if they follow certain rules? Each sign must display a trespassing warning in letters more than two inches high. The signs must be placed 500 feet (0.15 km) apart, at the most, and surround the property. Inadequate signs are a definite defense.

Have you ever gone on a walk without a destination and wandered onto private property unknowingly? One possible defense is that you accidentally wandered onto the property and didn’t know that it was private land. This happens much more than you think and is easy to do, especially when signs are inadequate or missing.

Did you go onto the land to recover your personal property? If you accidentally kicked a soccer ball over your fence and into the woods beyond, for example, you have the right to retrieve it as long as you leave after you have found it. You did not intend to trespass but whoever made the call may be exaggerating the situation or even lying about your actions.

Intent is key and your intentions dictate any other charges, such as burglary and property destruction, that you could receive. You can discuss other possible defenses with your lawyer.

Contact Anderson Law Firm

Anderson Law Firm, PLLC is offering you a free initial consultation to discuss your defense. Contact us to schedule your appointment and to answer any further questions that you may have. We have the experience and tenacity to help you, we just need your call.


DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.