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Trespassing in Florida


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#1 FloridaPhotographer

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:36 AM

A few weeks ago I was given a notice to appear for Trespass in the county I reside in. Myself and a few friends where shooting some skateboarding photographs at a building that has been out of business for minimn of a year now, although it does have a locked fence around it. (We crawled under an opening in it.) The property manager showed up, who is a retired law enforcement officer for the town I live in and immeadiately told us we are all going to jail, yelling, etc. We were trying to leave, and being quite respectful, we honestly did not think we were harming anything or bothering anyone by being there, considering the business has been out for so long. Where we entered the property there were no signs saying no trespassing nor anywhere along the fence ajecent to it. The property manager called his former agency directly I believe instead of calling 911, and I believe this was done because he wanted to use his former power as a Lutenient with that agency to go further than it would have with the local sheriffs department. The two Leo's that showed up both seemed to feel he was taking the issue above and beyond what it should have been.

As of today, one day prior to my arraignment I was just told I make to much money to have a public defender, after filing paperwork prior to Christmas, although I personally have called a few attorneys in town and I cannot afford them.

In Florida Trespass (810.09) is a first degree mistimeanor punishable under FL s. 775.082 or FL s. 775.083

My question is, not having any trespass warning on file for the property, and typically an arrest or nta I believe that there has to be one on file basically saying you have been warned prior at this location you are not welcome, does the locked fence give them a right to charge me with this, and I believe based off of what I will list below, Florida Fencing laws must require signage saying no tresspassing inorder for it to be a legal fence under Florida Fencing Laws.

Land is legally enclosed, or posted, when a legal fence encloses it, and its boundaries display posted notice to the public. The law views any part of the land bounded by ocean, gulf, bay, river, creek, or lake as legally enclosed (Florida Statutes section 588.09). Owners of legally enclosed land must maintain the condition of the fence and the posted notice (Florida Statutes section 588.11; 27 Florida Jurisprudence 2d section 4).

What are the requirements for posted notice on a fence to assure it is in compliance with Florida law?

Posted notices on fences must prominently display, in letters of at least two inches in height, the word "posted" together with the name of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the land. The notices must be placed no less than five hundred feet apart, at every corner, and at any gate or opening of fence. Similar notice is required for land bounded by water (Florida Statutes section 588.10).


Thank you for your time.

#2 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:47 AM

although it does have a locked fence around it. (We crawled under an opening in it.)


Could you please elaborate a bit more on this statement?

#3 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

I also suggest you visit the Real Estate Law Center: Land Use Laws and read Trespassing Basics as a good resource to learn more about this subject matter.

#4 FloridaPhotographer

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

Could you please elaborate a bit more on this statement?


Where we entered the property there was approximately a 16 inch to 24 inch opening at the bottom of the gate, allowing passage. There was a lock located above the opening about 3-4 feet holding the gate to a post. The fence was about 8-10 feet in height.

#5 LegalwriterOne

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

The statute you were cited for violating provides:
(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;

810.11 defines the terms that apply and clearly states: (7) "Fenced land" is that land which has been enclosed by a fence of substantial construction, whether with rails, logs, post and railing, iron, steel, barbed wire, other wire, or other material, which stands at least 3 feet in height.

The land was clearly fenced in giving you actual notice that you weren't invited. That makes you a trespasser and guilty of trespassing.

#6 FloridaPhotographer

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

The statute you were cited for violating provides:
(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;

810.11 defines the terms that apply and clearly states: (7) "Fenced land" is that land which has been enclosed by a fence of substantial construction, whether with rails, logs, post and railing, iron, steel, barbed wire, other wire, or other material, which stands at least 3 feet in height.

The land was clearly fenced in giving you actual notice that you weren't invited. That makes you a trespasser and guilty of trespassing.


So do I have any grounds to stand on to appeal or to have the charge dropped?

#7 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:08 PM

So do I have any grounds to stand on to appeal or to have the charge dropped?


An appeal would be made take after conviction, and in the appeal you generally must point to one or more errors made by the court that were significant enough that they could have impacted the outcome. For example, if you made a motion to exclude certain evidence and the judge incorrectly admitted the evidence to use against you, that is the sort of thing you'd appeal. Since you have not even been arraigned yet, it's too premature to think of appeal. As for dismissal, nothing you've posted suggests that would be appropriate. The state appears to have the probable cause needed to prosecute you — you were found by the cop inside the fenced area of private property. That fence was all the notice the statute required; it was certainy enough to put you on notice that you were not welcome on that property. The fact that it appeared abandoned to you doesn't help you because that doesn't excuse the trespass. Whether you might have a defense that you can assert at trial is something you need to discuss with a criminal defense attorney in your state.


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