Is That A Real Trespass?

Patrick BarthetOther

Trespass

We’ve all seen them – those “No Trespassing” signs, often on chain link fences, surrounding construction sites around town. But do you know there are two distinct forms of trespass laws depending on the size of the construction site – the placement being different whether the site is more or less than one acre.

Both need signs with the same message: “THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY.” On the smaller sites, the sign needs to have letters of not less than 2 inches high and be placed on the property where the permits for construction are placed. On larger sites, the warning signs must be legally posted, which means they need to be placed not more than 500 feet apart along and at each corner of the boundaries of the property and in letters not less than 2 inches high with the words “NO TRESPASSING” as well as the name of the owner, lessee or occupant of the land.  That’s the law.

So when the state tried to convict someone of trespassing on a multi acre construction site, its evidence was a photograph of a “NO TRESPASSING” sign in the ground next to the portable restroom, and the testimony of the job superintendent that there were two additional signs on 4 x 4 posts, one with the construction company’s name and the other with safety rules and a trespass warning. The court wasn’t buying it, finding this just wouldn’t be enough; the statutory signage requirements have to be fully met. A wake up call for all job superintendents.