Throughout the year, and especially in the summer and fall months, our office receives a number of “trespassing” complaints. While these laws can be confusing and sometimes not as clear as a simple trespass warning or complaint, there are several things as property or landowners that you can do to help protect your private property from trespassing issues.  If it does occur, we can help resolve these issues and prosecute and hold those responsible for breaking the law.

The State of Minnesota does have trespassing laws. These laws make it illegal to go on another person’s property without permission or to stay on their property after being told to leave. It’s important to note that usually such laws punish those that knowingly or intentionally trespass on another person’s property. This means that if a person accidentally or unintentionally goes onto someone else’s property, they are not necessarily guilty of committing a criminal trespass violation.

It is also important to have the property properly marked or signed with no trespassing warnings. We will share the main concepts of the Trespassing Law as laid out by Statute, as well as some guidelines for properly posting your property to lawfully enforce trespassing rules.

Minnesota Statute Chapter 609.605 details Criminal Trespassing. The statutes state that a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person intentionally:

(1) Permits domestic animals or fowls under the actor’s control to go on the land of another within a city;

(2) Interferes unlawfully with a monument, sign or pointer erected or marked to designate a point of a boundary, line or a political subdivision, or of a tract of land;

(3) Trespasses on the premises of another and, without claim of right, refuses to depart from the premises on demand of the lawful possessor;

(4) Occupies or enters the dwelling or locked or posted building of another, without claim of right or consent of the owner or the consent of one who has the right to give consent, except in an emergency situation;

(5) Enters the premises of another with intent to take or injure any fruit, fruit trees or vegetables growing on the premises, without the permission of the owner or occupant;

(6) Enters or is found on the premises of a public or private cemetery without authorization during hours the cemetery is posted as closed to the public;

(7) Returns to the property of another with the intent to abuse, disturb or cause distress in or threaten another, after being told to leave the property and not to return, if the actor is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent;

(8) Returns to the property of another within one year after being told to leave the property and not to return, if the actor is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent;

(9) Enters the locked or posted construction site of another without the consent of the owner or lawful possessor, unless the person is a business licensee;

(10) Enters the locked or posted aggregate mining site of another without the consent of the owner or lawful possessor, unless the person is a business licensee;  or

(11) Crosses into or enters any public or private area lawfully cordoned off by or at the direction of a peace officer engaged in the performance of official duties.  As used in this clause: (i) an area may be “cordoned off” through the use of tape, barriers or other means conspicuously placed and identifying the area as being restricted by a peace officer and identifying the responsible authority.

When posting your land for No Trespassing, it is important to know and follow some guidelines as laid out by the same statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.605

• The placement of a sign at least 8½ by 11 inches in a conspicuous place on the exterior of the building, or in a conspicuous place within the property on which the building is located.  

• The sign must carry a general notice warning against trespass. If the area is less than 3 acres, an additional sign must be placed within that area. If the area is more than three acres but less than 10 acres, two additional signs must be placed.

• For each additional full ten acres of area being protected beyond the first ten acres of area, two additional signs must be conspicuously placed within the area being protected. The sign must carry a general notice warning against trespass

• When posting your land, the statute requires that the signage: carry a general notice warning against trespass; display letters at least two inches high; state that Minnesota law prohibits trespassing on the property; and are posted in a conspicuous place and at intervals of 500 feet or less.

We hope that with this information you have a better understanding of the trespass laws and what is required by you as a home or land owner for proper posting methods to keep those who could be considered unwanted or unwelcome at your property away and for what has to be in place for a successful prosecution of trespassing laws.

If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, contact me anytime: e-mail tom.burch@co.cass.mn.us; call (218) 547-1424  or (800) 450-2677; or mail Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave W, P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN 56484

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