No matter where you live, and no matter whether you own your own home, or any other property, or just rent it is definitely in your best interest to learn your state’s trespassing laws.
Only by seeking to learn these laws will you know exactly where your rights start and stop when it comes to keeping people off of your property, and just as importantly what you need to do for the law to back you up.
Although the trespassing laws in the United States are largely similar from coast to coast there is still considerable variation between the states, as with all things.
Looking at New Mexico, for instance, you’ll be happy to see that the laws are entirely logical and easy to understand, with the only potential snag being the specific size and lettering requirements for posting no-trespassing signs. Other than this, there is a lot to like about their clear, clean laws.
Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know about New Mexico’s trespass statutes…
New Mexico Trespassing Law Overview
- Trespassing is always a misdemeanor in New Mexico.
- Criminal trespassing in the state is defined as entering property with posted signage or entering property after having being specifically barred from entry.
- Posted signage must adhere to size and font requirements, and include specific information, in the state of New Mexico.
What Constitutes Trespassing in New Mexico?
New Mexico defines criminal trespassing as knowingly entering or remaining upon posted private property without possessing written permission from the owner, owner’s agent or any other person in lawful control of the land.
Note that it specifies written permission! If you have obtained permission to be on someone else’s property for any purpose, you should get it in writing and keep it on you just in case.
You can read about all of this for yourself in section 30-14-1, relevant sections included below for your convenience:
30-14-1. Criminal trespass.A. Criminal trespass consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon posted private property without possessing written permission from the owner or person in control of the land. The provisions of this subsection do not apply if:
(1) the owner or person in control of the land has entered into an agreement with the department of game and fish granting access to the land to the general public for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing; or
(2) a person is in possession of a landowner license given to him by the owner or person in control of the land that grants access to that particular private land for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing.
B. Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon the unposted lands of another knowing that such consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the owner or occupant thereof. Notice of no consent to enter shall be deemed sufficient notice to the public and evidence to the courts, by the posting of the property at all vehicular access entry ways.
C. Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon lands owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivisions knowing that consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the custodian thereof.
E. Whoever commits criminal trespass is guilty of a misdemeanor. Additionally, any person who violates the provisions of Subsection A, B or C of this section, when in connection with hunting, fishing or trapping activity, shall have his hunting or fishing license revoked by the state game commission for a period of not less than three years, pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-3-34 NMSA 1978.
Does New Mexico Require “No Trespassing” Signs?
New Mexico does not strictly require posted no-trespassing signage for the law to back you up, but it is necessary unless you have specifically notified a person that they have no permission to enter your property.
In fact, one of the statutes makes mention that a notice of no consent to enter is deemed sufficient evidence to the courts so long as such signs are placed at every entrance to the property.
In short, it is in your best interest to post all private property against trespassing if you care about such things, but you must make sure that your signage adheres to the requirements also set down in the New Mexico statutes. See below in section 30-14-6:
30-14-6. No trespassing notice; sign contents; posting; requirement; prescribing a penalty for wrongful posting of public lands.A. The owner, lessee or person lawfully in possession of real property in New Mexico, except property owned by the state or federal government, desiring to prevent trespass or entry onto the real property shall post notices parallel to and along the exterior boundaries of the property to be posted, at each roadway or other way of access in conspicuous places, and if the property is not fenced, such notices shall be posted every five hundred feet along the exterior boundaries of such land.
B. The notices posted shall prohibit all persons from trespassing or entering upon the property, without permission of the owner, lessee, person in lawful possession or his agent. The notices shall:
(1) be printed legibly in English;
(2) be at least one hundred forty-four square inches in size;
(3) contain the name and address of the person under whose authority the property is posted or the name and address of the person who is authorized to grant permission to enter the property;
(4) be placed at each roadway or apparent way of access onto the property, in addition to the posting of the boundaries; and
(5) where applicable, state any specific prohibition that the posting is directed against, such as “no trespassing,” “no hunting,” “no fishing,” “no digging” or any other specific prohibition.
Is Fencing Required to Protect Property?
No, fencing is not required to qualify criminal trespass in the state of New Mexico. As mentioned above, signage is very important however.
What Other Marks Indicate “No Trespassing”?
None. You cannot use paint marks of any color to give notice against trespassing in New Mexico, unlike some other states.
Even though individuals might know what such markings mean, be they made of orange or purple paint on trees or posts, they have no force of law backing them. Don’t waste your time.
Can Solicitors Ignore “No Trespassing” Signs?
Generally no, although there is not much precedent in New Mexico for solicitors being prosecuted in suburban or urban areas for ignoring no-trespassing signage. However, they can never ignore a closed or barred fence or gate around a driveway or sidewalk.
Can Trespassing Result in Arrest in New Mexico?
It absolutely can, yes. All forms of criminal trespass in New Mexico are misdemeanors, and though misdemeanors are rated as a lesser crime than felonies, they are still crimes complete with serious fines and potential jail sentences.
You should never, ever knowingly trespass on someone else’s land, even if you were just walking on it for no particular purpose.
It goes without saying that trespassing that is done in the furtherance of a crime or the purpose of committing a crime will entail far more severe punishments.
Read about it for yourself in 30-14-1.1:
30-14-1.1. Types of trespass; injury to realty; civil damages.A. Any person who enters and remains on the lands of another after having been requested to leave is guilty of a misdemeanor.
B. Any person who enters upon the lands of another when such lands are posted against trespass at every roadway or apparent way of access is guilty of a misdemeanor.
C. Any person who drives a vehicle upon the lands of another except through a roadway or other apparent way of access, when such lands are fenced in any manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
D. In the event any person enters upon the lands of another without prior permission and injures, damages or destroys any part of the realty or its improvements, including buildings, structures, trees, shrubs or other natural features, he shall be liable to the owner, lessee or person in lawful possession for damages in an amount equal to double the amount of the appraised value of the damage of the property injured or destroyed.
Can You Take Someone to Court for Trespassing?
Yes. Anyone who trespasses on your property in defiance of posted signage, anyone who trespasses that results in damage to fencing or other property, or anyone who trespasses in furtherance of some other crime or does so in order to stalk or harass you definitely gives you grounds for hauling them into court.
Special Instances of Trespassing in New Mexico
New Mexico does not have many special statutes on trespassing, but it is worth pointing out section 30-14-8 which covers breaking and entering.
Specifically, breaking and entering consists of the unauthorized entry of a vehicle, watercraft, dwelling, or other structure, be it movable or immovable, obtained by the breaking or dismantling of any part or via fraud or deception. It is that last part you’ll want to be especially careful of!
Breaking and entering is a felony, so if the law construes your entry into any dwelling or any vehicle as being done by deception you could be facing serious charges.