No one wants to deal with trespassers on their property. The idea that someone is on our land, and shouldn’t be, is enough to offend anybody. But you cannot fly off the handle just because someone is trespassing.
Understanding trespassing laws and where they intersect with your rights is essential for dealing with trespassers while staying legal and ethical.
Furthermore, understanding your home state’s trespassing laws is imperative to avoid trespassing upon the land of anyone else.
Every state has its own interpretation and variations when it comes to trespassing laws, and the State of Louisiana is no exception.
At the end of the day, Louisiana’s laws are entirely sensible, but it is unfortunate for lay people without a legal background that the statutes are extremely lengthy and sort of difficult to find your way around without a seasoned professional at your side.
We are here to help with that problem by providing you with this useful guide that will familiarize you with the most important parts of Louisiana’s trespassing laws.
Louisiana Trespassing Law Overview
- Louisiana has a progressive penalty schedule in regards to trespassing; repeat offenses will incur greater and greater penalties.
- Signage and fencing are not required for posting property in Louisiana, but they are generally a good idea for protecting your own.
- Louisiana allows property owners to mark the boundaries of their property using purple paint in addition to signs or fencing.
- Louisiana strictly prohibits the use of drones for filming property or the activities of people on the property.
What Constitutes Trespassing in Louisiana?
Louisiana generally defines criminal trespass as entering in or remaining upon any immovable property, structure, or vehicle owned by another person without their express permission or legal authority.
Is also defined as remaining upon or in any such property after obtaining permission when such permission is revoked and being told to depart by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent.
You can read all about this and much more in Louisiana’s Section 63 of the state statutes. Note that this is a very long section, and we will only be showing relevant snippets here throughout the article.
It is highly recommended that you take the time to read the entirety of the section for yourself after completing this guide.
§63. Criminal trespassA. No person shall enter any structure, watercraft, or movable owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.
B.(1) No person shall enter upon immovable property owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.
(2) For purposes of this Subsection, the phrase “enter upon immovable property” as used in this Subsection, in addition to its common meaning, signification, and connotation, shall include the operation of an unmanned aircraft system as defined by R.S. 14:337 in the air space over immovable property owned by another with the intent to conduct surveillance of the property or of any individual lawfully on the property.
C.(1) No person shall remain in or upon property, movable or immovable, owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.
(2) For purposes of this Subsection, the phrase “remain in or upon property” as used in this Subsection, in addition to its common meaning, signification, and connotation, shall include the operation of an unmanned aircraft system as defined by R.S. 14:337 in the air space over immovable property owned by another with the intent to conduct surveillance of the property or of any individual lawfully on the property.
Does Louisiana Require “No Trespassing” Signs?
No, posted signage is not required by the section concerning criminal trespassing, but this same section also notes that any such posted signage counts as notice that entrance is prohibited.
Read it for yourself in paragraph J of section 63 below:
§63. Criminal trespassJ. Although not required by this Section, notice that entrance upon any structure, watercraft, movable, or immovable property owned by another is prohibited may be indicated by either of the following:
(1) A sign or signs posted on or in the property at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably expected to be seen.
Is Fencing Required to Protect Property?
No. Similar to posted signage, above, fencing is not strictly required for you to have the force of law behind you when it comes to deterring or prosecuting trespassers.
However, any fencing that is designed to preclude human entry in effect counts as notice against entry in Louisiana.
What Other Marks Indicate “No Trespassing”?
Paint markings. Louisiana is one of several states that have incorporated what are frequently referred to as purple paint laws in the statutes concerning trespassing.
Broadly speaking, these laws allow property owners to mark the balance of their property on posts or trees using, typically, vertical paint markings that are purple in color. That’s the reason for the name!
Louisiana’s versions of these laws are very similar to most other states that use them, specifically that they must be at least 8 inches tall and 1 inch wide, vertically oriented, and placed at about eye level on the post or tree, no less than three feet and no more than 5 feet off the ground.
Each of these markings must be placed no more than 100 feet apart in forested areas.
The exact text that is relevant has been taken directly from section 63:
§63. Criminal trespass(…)
(2) The placement of identifying purple paint marks on the trees or posts on the property, provided that such marks are:
(a) Vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width.
(b) Placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground nor more than five feet from the ground.
(c) Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than one hundred feet apart on forest land, as defined in R.S. 3:3622, or one thousand feet apart on land other than forest land.
Can Solicitors Ignore “No Trespassing” Signs?
No. Posting a no-trespassing sign at any entrance to your property, developed or undeveloped, residential or otherwise, serves as a notice against solicitors.
Can Trespassing Result in Arrest in Louisiana?
Absolutely, yes. Although simple criminal trespass usually only results in a violation and a fine, Louisiana has a progressive scale when it comes to punishments.
Repeat offenses can definitely be punished by arrest, and any trespassing that is done in furtherance of a crime or that results in damage could likewise result in arrest.
Can You Take Someone to Court for Trespassing?
Yes. Although before you get bent out of shape and want to hold somebody in civil court over trespassing on your land, know that Louisiana does make exceptions against charges of trespassing and certain specific instances.
For example, when someone is carrying out their duly appointed duties, or are trespassing only with the express purpose of collecting livestock or other domestic animals that have escaped and wandered onto someone else’s land, so long as they do no damage and leave immediately after securing the animal.
Check out paragraph F in section 63 for more:
§63. Criminal trespassF. The following persons may enter or remain upon immovable property of another, unless specifically forbidden to do so by the owner or other person with authority, either orally or in writing:
(5) The owner of domestic livestock or his employees or agents while in the process of retrieving his domestic livestock that have escaped from an area fenced to retain such domestic livestock.
(6) The owner of a domestic animal while in the sole process of merely retrieving his domestic animal from immovable property and not having a firearm or other weapon on his person.
Special Instances of Trespassing in Louisiana
Lots. Too many to talk about in this short guide, but perhaps the most important is regarding the use of drones for aerial surveillance of private property or the people on private property without the express permission of the property owner.
Louisiana is very serious about this subject, and the fact that you have a drone airborne with a camera transmitting to a base station or just recording to internal memory might be enough to fall afoul of the stature, so all of you drone operators take care while you are in the state.