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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default Florida Trespassing Laws

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida
    I am a property owner in Florida. I live on 3 fenced acres with a gate at the entrance off of the street. I do not normally close my gate. I have 3 "Keep Out No Trespassing" signs located at the entrance to my property. One on either side of the gate and one on a post just inside my property. All signs are easily seen. I have been having a host of various "sales" type people entering my property completely ignoring the 3 no trespassing signs. A lot of "driveway paving companies". Most say they did not see the 3 keep out no trespassing signs and others get indignant asking me if they were trespassing. My concern is for the safety of my family and property. What are my options as a homeowner for these people who are constantly trespassing when my property is clearly marked with no trespassing signs?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    For trespass cases here in Florida, there aren't going to be criminal charges brought for trespass on property unless the prosecution can prove an important element for conviction: intent to UNLAWFULLY trespass, meaning, in real terms, that the person entered the property "with stealth" OR with intent to commit a crime. Persons, such as solicitors, Girl Scouts, the Jehovah Witnesses, or anyone else, walking up a driveway and ringing the doorbell won't even get an eyebrow raise from law enforcement, much less consideration for criminal charges by a DA. If the gate is open, even WITH the signs, a conviction won't stand because the trespass won't be considered to have been done wilfully. (In other words, most people, including people on juries, feel that approaching on an open driveway is ok, so long as they aren't roaming other areas of the property). Bottom line is that an open gate to a driveway won't get action from police/DA unless some unlawful activity is occurring. Keeping the gate closed would completely change the dynamic. Alternatively, if you can manage to get law enforcement to respond while such persons are actually AT your front door or on your property, police can issue a formal warning such that any FUTURE visit would be a "trespass after warning" violation resulting in arrest. The downside to that is that often groups like Girl Scouts, Jehovah witnesses, companies selling magazines or what have you will just send different people the next time. But it's a start.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,093

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    close the gate? Yes, I know, it's a pain in the rump even if you have a power opener and all the residents have controllers. Anybody else needing to get to your house that you want to allow has no way to get in without somebody opening the gate for them but...

    if you have signs there that are being ignored, not sure what else you could do. If you want to go to the trouble of calling the police and making a report of a trespass, have at it. Unless you are having repeat visits by the same party, I doubt that would succeed in causing the traffic to stop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    8

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    Thank you. I guess my only option is to just keep the gate closed at all times. I have not as I do not have an automatic opener and my family is in and out quite a bit. I have a 600' long driveway and my concerns are once someone is actually at my house or garage they are a long way from the street and there is no way for me to tell if their intentions are legal or not. Even when I tell people they are trespassing (and I do everytime) there would be no way for me to hold them for the police. Even if I got a tag number I doubt there would be any response from the Sheriffs Department. This is why I posted the question to get ideas. I thought posting my property with no trespassing signs actually meant something. I guess not unless they open a closed gate? Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,093

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    call the local police and ask them if you have any action available. In a way, the law gets brushed aside if the police refuse to act on a law or take sympathy on a person and go above and beyond what is required by the law. Doesn't hurt to ask them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    8

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    Thanks. I did call the sheriffs office once for this same reason. I actually had a person who drove all the way down my driveway passing the 3 no trespassing signs argue with me when I advised him he was trespassing. He did leave though. I contacted the Sheriffs office and was told to simply contact the company who employed this person and tell them about the problem. I actually thought a person's private property posted with no trespassing signs meant something. It is not because I do not want to be bothered but it is a safety issue. There is no way for me to know if the person is there for legal reasons or not. I would have thought the fact they passed three keep out no trespassing signs indicated their intentions may not be legal. We live in a very strange world. Is it not trespassing if you come onto someones property that is clearly posted with keep out no trespassing signs? Must we also keep our gate closed at all times in addition to the no trespassing signs? Unfortunately at times it seems as if the people breaking the law have more rights than those of us that do not break the law.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,093

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    810.09Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance.—
    (1)(a)A person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance:
    1.As to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing, or cultivation as described in s. 810.011; or
    2.If the property is the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling and the offender enters or remains with the intent to commit an offense thereon, other than the offense of trespass,
    commits the offense of trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance.
    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...s/0810.09.html

    It would appear the signs are adequate to invoke the trespass law.

    I think you need to have another chat with the local police and ask them how you would file a complaint of trespass against a person that trespasses on your property.

    I still don't see how that is going to change your situation though. If they refuse to respect the sign, even though it appears they can be prosecuted for trespass, what about the next guy the ignores the sign? and the next?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    8

    Default Re: Florida Trespassing Laws

    Thanks. Looks as if my only reasonable choice is to keep my gates closed. The more I think about it you are correct. If they refuse to respect the signs they will just keep on coming down the driveway.

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