Understanding the intrusion laws within the state you reside in and in each state where you own property is significant relating to protecting your rights.
Equally vital is knowing trespassing laws anywhere you may by accident trespass on another person’s property, corresponding to camping or hunting.
While trespassing laws within the United States are fairly uniform from coast to coast, there’s considerable variation relating to penalties and specific placement requirements for land and residential property.
Maryland is a little bit of an odd state, considering the state has fairly strict requirements for posting no trespassing signs, while also being somewhat vague on what exactly is and is not trespassing under certain conditions.
This article will enable you to understand the more confusing parts of the statute.
Overview of trespass law in Maryland
- Maryland has escalating penalties for repeated trespassing violations, with longer fines and prison terms every time.
- Maryland requires signage or signs to be posted to guard most kinds of land from intruders.
- Maryland has several special statutes regarding encroachment on farmland, using an all-terrain vehicle on private property, or the identical form of vehicle on public property.
What constitutes trespassing in Maryland?
In Maryland, trespassing is usually defined as stepping on, crossing, or being on one other person’s property, including vehicles and transportation of every kind, after being notified by the owner or owner’s agent that it’s prohibited.
The only exceptions are when an individual enters or crosses a border in good faith claiming rights or property, and a number of other specific exceptions that we don’t discuss here for brevity.
Sections 6-403 and 6-402 contain most of what the typical citizen must learn about trespassing on private property in Maryland.
Excerpt 6-403 is below:
6-403. Reckless trespass on private property
(a) Prohibited – Entering and Crossing Ground. — An individual may not enter or cross the private property of, or board one other person’s boat or other marine vessel after having been notified by the owner or the owner’s agent to not achieve this, unless entering or crossing it’s in good faith with a claim concerning rights or property.
(b) Prohibited – Staying on Property. — No one may enter private property, including one other person’s boat or other marine vessel, after having been notified by the owner or the owner’s agent to not achieve this.
Does Maryland require “No Trespassing” signs?
Yes, when you want the law to support you in protecting your property, especially undeveloped land, from intruders.
6-402 states that no trespassing signs should be placed where they’re reasonably more likely to be seen by a possible intruder.
6-402. Intrusion into the property
(a) Prohibited. — No one is allowed to enter or trespass on property that’s clearly marked as trespassing by:
(1) signs placed where they will be reasonably seen; or
(2) traces of paint that:
(i) comply with regulations adopted by the Department of Natural Resources pursuant to § 5-209 of the Natural Resources Article; and
(ii) are made on trees or poles which might be:
1. every time you enter the property; and
2. adjoining to public roads, public waterways and other land adjoining to the property.
(b) Punishment. — A one that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and convicted is subject to:
(1) for the primary violation, imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or positive not exceeding $500, or each;
(2) for a second violation inside 2 years of the primary violation, imprisonment of as much as six months or a positive of as much as $1,000, or each; and
(3) for every subsequent violation inside 2 years of the previous violation, imprisonment for as much as 1 yr or a positive of as much as $2,500, or each.
Is a fence required to guard property?
No. Maryland law is sort of specific concerning the need for signage or paint markings to display property against intruders, but makes little mention of fences, and the presence of fences or other obstructions intended to dam pedestrian or vehicular traffic just isn’t considered in Maryland trespassing law.
However, as in most other cases and in other states, any intruder who bypasses, damages or destroys a fence, gates, locks, posts or every other barrier of entry may simply qualify his intrusion as a break-in and entry depending on the circumstances and kind properties.
But such a discussion is beyond the scope of this text.
What other signs indicate “no trespassing”?
Maryland is one in all the few states that also allows property owners to mark the boundaries of their property against intruders with paint.
Commonly known as purple paint laws, Maryland takes a rather different tack, though they keep on with the spirit of such laws by requiring blue paint as an alternative of the more common purple.
Like most regulations, the colour and medium of the paint are specific and markings should be made and a form of vertical bar a minimum of 2 inches wide by 8 inches long placed between 3 and 6 feet above the bottom on a tree or post.
Anyone approaching the property boundary should see these signs to their left and right from anywhere.
Can Attorneys Ignore No Trespassing Signs?
No. In Maryland, nobody can disregard a no trespassing sign unless authorized to achieve this.
This includes lawyers, and while the state generally doesn’t seek to prosecute lawyers who violate such signage, it must be noted that anyone knocking on the door does so at their discretion.
Can trespassing lead to an arrest in Maryland?
Yes, although easy kinds of trespass that cause no harm or are committed in support of one other crime rarely lead to an arrest.
Fines are rather more common, but those that repeatedly or flagrantly violate the law risk arrest and imprisonment.
It must also be noted that intrusion right into a public place by refusing to go away when instructed to achieve this by staff or law enforcement can and typically lead to arrest.
Can you sue someone for trespassing?
Yes, especially in the event that they exhibit patterns of such behavior, malicious intrusion or the intrusion is related to stalking or harassment.
Special Intrusion Cases in Maryland
The state of Maryland has several special statutes covering specific kinds of criminal offenses, covering the whole lot from using any form of vehicle on private property, using an ATV on public property or land, trespassing on farmland, and trespassing on a stable racetrack area .
Perhaps most notable is the entry for property to invade the privacy of residents, Section 6-408. This section deals with what is frequently called the voyeur law.
This is certainly rude behavior, but in Maryland it is just a misdemeanor punishable by as much as 90 days in prison and a positive not exceeding $500, or each as punishment.
The relevant section 6-408 is below on your reference:
6-408. Trespassing property to violate the privacy of residents
(a) Prohibited. — No one is allowed to enter another person’s property to invade the privacy of an individual occupying a constructing or perimeter on that property by searching through a window, door or other opening.
(b) Punishment. – A one that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and convicted shall be liable to imprisonment for as much as 90 days or a positive not exceeding $500, or each.