Trespassing is bad news. It’s bad news when strangers trespass on your property, land, or otherwise, and it’s bad news if you accidentally trespass on someone else’s property when out and about hunting, hiking, camping, or scouting your bug-out routes.
Although usually thought of by citizens as a lesser or forgettable crime, trespassing can entail serious legal consequences, including jail time and substantial fines.
For this reason, it is imperative that everybody understands the trespassing laws in the state where they live, travel, or own property.
Minnesota’s trespassing laws are generally easy to understand, but they do make things a little difficult for citizens trying to look them up because the two main sections that cover them are extremely lengthy, and sometimes related concepts are spread out in the statutes.
This article will serve as a guide that will help get you up to speed with the most important things that you need to know about Minnesota’s trespassing laws.
Minnesota Trespassing Law Overview
- In Minnesota, verbal notice is generally required to bar trespassing if signage is not posted.
- The majority of criminal trespass charges in Minnesota are misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors.
- Minnesota has highly specific requirements for no-trespassing signage that must be followed for the law to back you up if posting your own property.
What Constitutes Trespassing in Minnesota?
Minnesota law states that trespassing is, essentially, entering or remaining upon the premises or in the dwelling of another without lawful authority or permission or refusing to depart after permission has been revoked.
The trespass law in Minnesota is also notable for the various other crimes that still constitute trespassing, including vandalism, defacing of monuments and markers, stealing fruit, and more.
The Minnesota statutes covering trespassing can be found in 609.605, an extremely lengthy section that we will take snippets from throughout this article for the most important concepts.
You can review the fundamental parts of what constitutes trespassing below:
609.605 TRESPASS.Subdivision 1. Misdemeanor.
(1) “Premises” means real property and any appurtenant building or structure.
(2) “Dwelling” means the building or part of a building used by an individual as a place of residence on either a full-time or a part-time basis. A dwelling may be part of a multidwelling or multipurpose building, or a manufactured home as defined in section 168.002, subdivision 16.
(b) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person intentionally:
(1) permits domestic animals or fowls under the actor’s control to go on the land of another within a city;
(2) interferes unlawfully with a monument, sign, or pointer erected or marked to designate a point of a boundary, line or a political subdivision, or of a tract of land;
(3) trespasses on the premises of another and, without claim of right, refuses to depart from the premises on demand of the lawful possessor;
(4) occupies or enters the dwelling or locked or posted building of another, without claim of right or consent of the owner or the consent of one who has the right to give consent, except in an emergency situation;
(5) enters the premises of another with intent to take or injure any fruit, fruit trees, or vegetables growing on the premises, without the permission of the owner or occupant;
(6) enters or is found on the premises of a public or private cemetery without authorization during hours the cemetery is posted as closed to the public;
(7) returns to the property of another with the intent to abuse, disturb, or cause distress in or threaten another, after being told to leave the property and not to return, if the actor is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent;
(8) returns to the property of another within one year after being told to leave the property and not to return, if the actor is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent;
Does Minnesota Require “No Trespassing” Signs?
Yes, for certain properties and to qualify certain kinds of trespassing if no prior specific verbal or written notice has been delivered.
Also, as mentioned above in the introduction Minnesota has some surprisingly specific requirements for signage for various types of property.
In some cases, any generic no-trespassing sign will do so long as it’s large enough and posted inconspicuous place, for other properties the size, format, and other inclusions are highly specific.
Once again we can reference section 609.605, but you’ll need to look up the indicated paragraphs mentioned below to cross-reference them:
(5) “Posted,” as used:
(i) in paragraph (b), clause (4), means the placement of a sign at least 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches in a conspicuous place on the exterior of the building, or in a conspicuous place within the property on which the building is located. The sign must carry a general notice warning against trespass;
(ii) in paragraph (b), clause (9), means the placement of a sign at least 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches in a conspicuous place on the exterior of the building that is under construction, alteration, or repair, or in a conspicuous place within the area being protected. If the area being protected is less than three acres, one additional sign must be conspicuously placed within that area. If the area being protected is three acres but less than ten acres, two additional signs must be conspicuously placed within that area. For each additional full ten acres of area being protected beyond the first ten acres of area, two additional signs must be conspicuously placed within the area being protected. The sign must carry a general notice warning against trespass; and
(iii) in paragraph (b), clause (10), means the placement of signs that:
(A) carry a general notice warning against trespass;
(B) display letters at least two inches high;
(C) state that Minnesota law prohibits trespassing on the property; and
(D) are posted in a conspicuous place and at intervals of 500 feet or less.
Is Fencing Required to Protect Property?
No. Fencing is generally not required to qualify trespassing so long as prior notice has been given to a specific individual or no-trespassing signage is posted inconspicuous places and in accordance with the regulations for doing.
It should be noted, however, that any trespasser that defeats, crosses, damages, or destroys fencing or other barricades against foot or vehicle traffic in the course of trespassing will likely face additional charges.
What Other Marks Indicate “No Trespassing”?
None. Minnesota is not a state that relies upon what is commonly referred to as “purple paint” laws for posting properties against trespassing.
Can Solicitors Ignore “No Trespassing” Signs?
Technically no, but they commonly will. If you really wanted to press the matter, you could potentially bring charges against a solicitor who ignored a properly posted no-trespassing sign, but Minnesota case law does not have a strong record in this regard.
Something you might want to keep in mind if you really despise dealing with solicitors is that they definitely cannot circumvent a closed and locked gate or other barriers to entry on your property.
Can Trespassing Result in Arrest in Minnesota?
Yes, definitely. Trespassing, especially trespassing that is done wantonly, trespassing that results in damage, or trespassing that is done in furtherance of a crime can certainly result in arrest.
And, even though it isn’t necessarily common, especially in cases of accidental trespassing, remember that trespassing is a misdemeanor and potentially worse in the state of Minnesota, and can result in a rest at the instance.
You should never trespass, or risk trespassing, because you think it is a lesser crime!
Can You Take Someone to Court for Trespassing?
Yes. You will definitely have a case if the trespass results in damage, breach of quiet domain, or is done in connection with harassment, stalking, or some other crime.
If a specific person has repeatedly trespassed on your land, say to hunt illegally or for some other purpose, you’ll definitely have a case.
Special Instances of Trespassing in Minnesota
There are several special instances of trespassing in Minnesota, typically revolving around other closely related clients that aren’t, in and of themselves, trespassing by definition.
Near the beginning of 609.605 you’ll see that trespassing is also considered allowing domestic animals or poultry under your control to go onto someone else’s land within a city, interfering with any monuments, signs or pointers that designate a boundary, subdivision, or tract and damaging fruit, fruit trees or vegetables on someone else’s land, to include taking the fruit or vegetables of a plant.