Whether you own property or rent property, it is important that you understand your state’s trespassing laws.
These laws are closely tied to your rights to keep control of your home and other premises against people that you don’t want to be there whether or not they were originally invited.
These laws are also important to understand so you do not accidentally trespass and incur civil or criminal charges for trespassing.
For hunters, campers, and anyone else who enjoys the great outdoors, this is essential reading.
Florida is a state that is known for being very pro self-defense and generally having a strong bias towards the property rights of citizens.
But unfortunately, the state statutes concerning trespassing are many, varied, and not easy to understand if you are not already a lawyer.
To help a lay person better understand Florida’s trespassing laws we are here with a guide that covers the most important topics.
Florida Trespassing Law Overview
- Compared to other states, Florida has many strictly defined statutes covering trespassing in various situations and on various public and private properties.
- Trespassing while armed in any structure or vehicle is a felony crime in Florida.
- Vacant, unimproved land should be posted with no-trespassing signage for maximum protection under the law.
What Constitutes Trespassing in Florida?
In Florida, trespassing is generally defined as entering or remaining in or upon any structure, conveyance or real property without privilege or authorization under the law.
This means that you may trespass if you do not have a specific invitation, if you enter a structure or other property in defiance of posted no-trespassing signs, or even if you are uninvited guest of the property owner but are told to leave and then choose to remain in defiance of that demand.
It is also worth noting that Florida defines structure, dwelling, and conveyance separately, but you’ll see all pop up throughout the state statutes concerning trespassing so make sure you read up in chapter 810 about the specific definitions. The abbreviated definitions are below:
810.011 Definitions.—As used in this chapter:
(1) “Structure” means a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof.
(2) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the curtilage thereof.
(3) “Conveyance” means any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car; and “to enter a conveyance” includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance.
Does Florida Require “No Trespassing” Signs?
Not always, but it is important for protecting unimproved land. A posted no-trespassing sign qualifies as evidence of trespass when someone commits the act.
It could be argued that, if the land was not posted, that they did not mean to trespass or that it was accidental.
This is why I mentioned above that it is so important to post your property with the appropriate signs and other markings.
You can read about unauthorized entry on land in chapter 810.12, and then read about the specific markings required from the previous chapter on definitions, both included here for your convenience.
810.12 – Unauthorized Entry on Land; Prima Facie Evidence of Trespass.(1) The unauthorized entry by any person into or upon any enclosed and posted land shall be prima facie evidence of the intention of such person to commit an act of trespass.
Is Fencing Required to Protect Property?
No, if you have signs, but crossing fencing or any other barrier to entry can escalate the qualification of a trespassing charge.
Have a look at section 810.09 which covers trespassing on property other than structures or conveyances.
Specifically paragraph 1A subsection 1 mentions that fencing serves as a notice against entering along with posting or by actual communication with the offender by the owner of the property or the owner’s agent.
What Other Marks Indicate “No Trespassing”?
None. Only posted no-trespassing signs, the stenciled words “no trespassing” in a specific orange color, and fencing, walls, or other barriers to entry can qualify as a notice against entry and trespassing in Florida.
Some states have laws that allow property owners to post the boundaries of their property using vertical slashes of purple paint, and while slowly increasing in popularity Florida does not have any set law on the books, and likewise you cannot simply use a vertical slash of orange paint for the same purpose on a tree or post.
Please refer to the previous section which includes the specifics for posting taken from chapter 810.011
Chapter 810 – Burglary and Trespass
810.011 Definitions.—As used in this chapter:
(5)(a) “Posted land” is that land upon which:
1. Signs are placed not more than 500 feet apart along, and at each corner of, the boundaries of the land, upon which signs there appears prominently, in letters of not less than 2 inches in height, the words “no trespassing” and in addition thereto the name of the owner, lessee, or occupant of said land. Said signs shall be placed along the boundary line of posted land in a manner and in such position as to be clearly noticeable from outside the boundary line; or
2.a. Conspicuous no trespassing notice is painted on trees or posts on the property, provided that the notice is:
(I) Painted in an international orange color and displaying the stenciled words “No Trespassing” in letters no less than 2 inches high and 1 inch wide either vertically or horizontally;
(II) Placed so that the bottom of the painted notice is not less than 3 feet from the ground or more than 5 feet from the ground; and
(III) Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than 500 feet apart on agricultural land.
Can Solicitors Ignore “No Trespassing” Signs?
No, not generally. If you have posted your property, including your dwelling, with no-trespassing signs or have a fence or some other barrier to entry with a closed gate solicitors that cannot generally ignore it without risking repercussions.
Now, depending on what they have come calling for you may or may not have much of a case if you want to press charges or take them to civil court.
Can Trespassing Result in Arrest in Florida?
Absolutely. Florida does not play around when it comes to trespassing, and there are several instances where even misdemeanor trespassing can easily result in arrest, and trespassing while armed, even if you were otherwise legally armed, can result in significant felony charges.
Some people treat trespassing as a very minor or even forgettable crime.
Some states likewise are relatively easy on trespassing so long as no other crimes were committed as a consequence. Florida is not one of them.
Can You Take Someone to Court for Trespassing?
Yes, you can, especially in cases where other damage has occurred or there is evidence that the trespassing was facilitating another crime, or that a crime was committed or was going to be committed while the person has trespassed.
You’ll also have a pretty easy time of things if the person is a repeat offender or already has a record of criminality.
Special Instances of Trespassing in Florida
Florida has many specialized statutes covering specific kinds of trespassing or trespassing at specific installations or functions.
For instance, chapter 810.095 covers trespassing on school property with a firearm or other weapon.
Chapter 810.097 covers trespass upon the grounds or other facilities of the school. Chapter 810.0975 covers trespassing in school safety zones. And so on and so forth.
Florida’s laws, scattered throughout the statutes, also get highly specific concerning trespassing charges and modifications to the charge if a trespass occurs in a structure or in a conveyance in some instances.
We won’t be listing all of those here, but take it upon yourself to read the state statutes completely and thoroughly!
810.095 – Trespass on School Property With Firearm or Other Weapon Prohibited.(1) It is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, for a person who is trespassing upon school property to bring onto, or to possess on, such school property any weapon as defined in s. 790.001(13) or any firearm.
(2) As used in this section, “school property” means the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic.