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Rhode Island State Trespassing Laws

No matter where you reside, it is important to know the law regarding trespass. This trespassing law will influence your decisions when someone trespasses in your land, be it a vacant lot or property surrounding your private home.

Rhode Island flag

Trespassing regulations specify fencing and signage requirements. And intrusion laws let you recognize exactly what is anticipated of you in the case of the property of others, regardless of what you do on the earth.

In typical American custom, while the country’s trespassing laws are broadly similar, they’re never equivalent from state to state.

Each state has its own approach to those laws, with different definitions, qualifications, and penalties.

Rhode Island is a state where trespassing laws are generally clear, but also they are very notable for the hefty penalties and fines imposed on those that trespass.

But, as you’d expect, there’s lots more to learn, and today we’ll make it easier to understand Rhode Island trespass laws.

Overview of encroachment law in Rhode Island

  • Posting no trespassing signs is a superb idea in Rhode Island, however the state has very minimal requirements for sign type and elegance.
  • Rhode Island imposes quite heavy fines for trespassing, and a number of other varieties of trespassing can carry lengthy prison terms and even prison sentences.
  • Rhode Island has specific statutes covering various kinds of trespassing depending on how impudent the act of trespassing is.

What constitutes an incursion into Rhode Island?

While the common definition of trespass is ubiquitous, it’s value noting that the precise legal definition of trespass may vary barely from state to state, and will even vary barely depending on the actual statute that applies.

Considering Rhode Island, here perhaps an important definition and accompanying trespassing statute is present in 11-44-26, willful trespass.

In short, any one who voluntarily or without reasonable cause to be in, on or across the premises of a residence without permission or legal authority to achieve this, and specifically does so after being prohibited by the property owner, commits an intentional offence.

An extract from 11-44-26 is attached below in your convenience. It isn’t complete, so make sure to try the total text of the statute:

11-44-26. Willful trespass – Remains on the bottom after being warned – Exemption for tenants.
(a) Any one who voluntarily enters or, having no reasonable cause for his presence, stays on another person’s land or within the territory or perimeter of the residence of an individual entitled by law to own that residence, after having served it, the landowner or the duly authorized representative of the owner prevents him from doing so or an individual legally entitled to own the premises, shall be liable to a fantastic of up to at least one thousand zlotys ($1,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one 12 months or each.
(b) This section doesn’t apply to tenants or occupants of dwellings who lawfully entered the premises on the commencement of the lease or occupancy, remain there after the expiry or presumed termination of that lease or occupancy. The owner or lessor of the premises can only regain possession through appropriate civil proceedings.
(c) Where the provisions of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Chapter 29 Title 12 apply, the penalties for violating this section also include the penalties set forth in Section 12-29-5.

Does Rhode Island require “No Trespassing” signs?

No, but that is not all: While Rhode Island doesn’t require no trespassing signs, the posting of no trespassing signs is required to offer maximum protection under the law for certain varieties of property, particularly unimproved vacant lots that usually are not fenced in.

Additionally, Rhode Island has signage laws and requirements, but they’re refreshingly minimal in comparison with almost every other state.

In general, the sign have to be placed in a conspicuous and clearly visible place, made from fabric, metal or other variety of cardboard and have the words printed or embossed on it together with the prohibited act – on this case “no intrusion”.

Below is an extract from 11-44-30 regarding the necessities and varieties of signs that could be displayed for this purpose:

11-44-30. Placement of characters – types.
Whenever any signs indicating no trespassing, shooting, trapping, fishing, etc. are required, clear and legible signs on the bottom which might be fixed by fabric, metal or cardboard, or by conspicuously stencilling the word “Sent.”

Is a fence required to guard property?

No. Fencing your property, while often a superb idea if you should protect it from intruders, isn’t required in Rhode Island.

What other signs indicate “no trespassing”?

Nothing. Signage and signage only is required in Rhode Island to post any property against trespassers.

While there are several, and counting, states that depend on so-called “purple paint” anti-intrusion property listing laws, Rhode Island isn’t considered one of them.

While using purple or orange stripes or patches of paint on trees on fence posts and other natural or man-made features across the perimeter of a property is comparatively well-known to residents, such signs don’t have any legal effect in Rhode Island and will only be used for convenience or for reference.

Can Attorneys Ignore No Trespassing Signs?

Generally not, although it’s going to rarely be a problem that’s pressed in residential areas.

As long as a lawyer or other door knocker doesn’t hop over your fence, open a locked gate or something, they’ll rarely get in trouble for ignoring a no trespassing sign.

Can trespassing end in an arrest in Rhode Island?

Yes, absolutely. Most types of trespassing are misdemeanor crimes in Rhode Island, and while misdemeanors are typically treated as lesser crimes, they’re still serious crimes carrying heavy fines and even prison sentences of as much as a 12 months.

Certain offenses involving trespassing into Rhode Island or any trespassing with the intent to commit a felony may end in criminal charges, which is able to inevitably end in arrest and lengthy prison terms.

Keep in mind that even the smallest, measurable damage that happens to a fence or some other property during a trespass may qualify as vandalism, a misdemeanor, and the intruder can easily be arrested, fined and jailed. See 11-44-1 for more information:

11-44-1. Vandalism – obstruction of legal activities.
(a) Any one who willfully and maliciously or maliciously damages, destroys, writes, paints or otherwise deforms one other person’s property or obstructs using one other person’s property or interferes with one other person’s lawful business or business in any way not expressly provided for by statute, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be liable to a fantastic not exceeding one thousand dollars (US$1,000) and/or to imprisonment not exceeding one 12 months, and to make good any damage or injury caused. (…)

Can you sue someone for trespassing?

Yes definitely. Anyone who maliciously or willfully trespasses in your land contrary to posted signage, anyone who damages a fence, land or other property, anyone who’s a repeated trespasser in your property, and anyone who trespasses to stalk or harass you possibly can definitely be taken to court over it.

Whether it’s best to do that depends upon the seriousness of the offense and whether there’s any likelihood of getting compensation for the offence.

Special Intrusion Cases in Rhode Island

There are many special statutes in Rhode Island’s legal books coping with trespassing and other related crimes, but probably the most relevant is present in 11-44-28 regarding trespassing on or onto private recreational facilities.

You can read the one for yourself below:

11-44-28. Intrusion into private recreation facilities.
Any one who voluntarily enters and stays on the premises or grounds of personal recreation facilities, after being prohibited by the owner or person in charge of the power, shall be fined to not exceed five hundred dollars ($500); provided that the present rights of fishermen usually are not infringed. “Facilities” as utilized in this section means private property used for gaming, sports or entertainment, including but not limited to golf courses, beaches and bathing facilities.


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