What is the Law on Trespass in Vermont and What are the Punishments for it?
Trespass, criminal trespass, or unlawful trespass is a criminal offense and civil wrong that are the unauthorized entry upon the soil of another individual.
Express or implied license or permission must be given to the trespasser, by the lawful owner of the land in order to not qualify as unlawful or criminal trespass.
This offense is regarded as a misdemeanor or infraction in many states and is not generally treated as a serious crime.
What is the Law on Trespass in Vermont?
Title 13, Chapter 81, Statute 3705 of Vermont’s Code of Law declares that an individual is guilty of the offense of unlawful trespass if they enter a building with signs and notices manufactured and designed with the intent of providing reasonable notice to all visitors and guests against trespass, or the rightful owner of said building communicates notice against trespass either in person by law enforcement acting on their behalf, or an agent working on their behalf, and the offender in question continues to enter said building that is otherwise normally barred or obstructed from access or locked in any manner, then the individual is guilty of unauthorized entry.
Any individual that unlawfully enters a dwelling, house, or building they are not privileged or licensed to access commit the offense of unlawful trespass.
All prosecutions of unlawful trespass must be initiated within 2 months following the commission of the offense.
Are There any Exceptions Made for Unlawful Trespass in the Laws of Vermont?
Under Vermont Statute 3705, law enforcement officers cannot be prosecuted for the offense of unlawful trespass if they are authorized to enter the building, dwelling, or residence while engaged in the proceedings of their duty while serving the civil and/or criminal process of the state, including but not limited to the summons, subpoenas, warrants, citations, and any other lawful court orders or declarations made by governmental authorities.
If the access of a law enforcement official is necessary into the residence to effectuate the service of process of the law, then the law enforcement official can not be held liable for the offense of unlawful trespass.
What are the Elements of Trespass?
The invasion of another’s rightful property requires 4 elements to be present for charges to be levied:
- Unlawful intrusion onto the property, wherein there is no mutual consent between the parties, entities, individuals, or between the owner of the property and the invader.
- Intent to intrude, wherein the offender engages in actions leading up to the invasion with the knowledge that the trespass would occur knowingly and deliberately as a result of said acts and decisions leading up to the invasion.
- Intrusion with force, wherein damages have to be proven as a result of the intentional trespass, or nuisance caused as a direct result of said trespass. The offender is liable for damages without reference to due care.
- Injury consequent to the intrusion upon the owner, wherein injury or bodily harm results within the limits of the property as a result of the trespass.
What is the Punishment for Trespass in Vermont?
An individual that commits the offense of trespass into a land area they are unauthorized to access in the state of Vermont is punishable by imprisonment up to 3 months in jail, and/or a fine of $500.
An individual that commits the offense of trespass into any building other than the residence of an individual is punishable by imprisonment up to 1 year and/or a fine of $500.
An individual that commits the offense of trespass into a dwelling of another individual they are unauthorized to access is punishable by imprisonment up to 3 years, and/or a fine of $2000.