Is It Time To Revise ALL Trespass Laws
There is a bill in the senate to allow a WCO to cite for trespass on contact where there is no game violation. Currently, to cite a WCO needs to find a game code violation to cite for trespass.
My contention is that the legislature needs to undertake a comprehensive review and revision of all trespass laws in Pennsylvania. Bring them all under one title, and ensure that fines and penalties are consistent. It would also enable them to address the current realities landowners face.
Currently the trespass laws are scattered across the PA Code. The fines and penalties are a mish mash of this and that and are not consistent in most cases.
Beyond trespass where hunting or fishing are the activities at hand, we have an ATV issue, hiker issue, biking issue, horse issue, hiking issue and a lot more. Then there are the issues more common in the suburban / urban areas.
Again, why not visit all the statutes, put them under one heading and cross reference them to the other sections? While at it, why not put in some language to address the relaity of the situation and the real problems being faced by landowners?
///// This is a compilation of a project i have had for some time. So If you see Pennsylvania mentioned below - or PA 18 somewhere, most likely it was put in by me as an example.
Just a FYI ////
For instance, other states have language stating the following:
Refusal to provide identifying information to the land owner or other authorized person upon demand shall increase the fines imposed by one and one half times.
Fleeing or eluding landowner, other authorized persons, or law enforcement, by any means, shall increase grading by one step.
Trespass with ATV or snowmobile
1. ATV or snowmobile trespass is the entering or remaining on anotherís land, without permission or privilege, regardless of notice prescribed by law, and is a misdemeanor of the third degree punishable by a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to 30 days for the first offense.
2. A second trespass conviction, without regard for offense location within the Commonwealth, is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a fine of $1000 and jail time of up to 30 days.
3. A Third trespass conviction, without regard for offense location within the Commonwealth, is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a fine of $2500 and jail time of 45 days. The court shall also impound the registration and license plate of the vehicle for at least 120 days one year following completion of sentence.
Parental ATV or snowmobile responsibility
The juvenal trespasserís parent or guardian and the vehicle owner with civil liability are responsible for any damages caused by a juvenal trespasser under 18 who uses a recreational motor vehicle and are liable for all fines imposed in 1, 2, 3 above.
The offending juvenile
(a) For the first offense shall be offered ARD, or public service of up to thirty days.
(b) For the second offense, public service of 45 days, and a restriction on obtaining or suspension of driving privileges for six months.
(c) A third or subsequent offense doubles any driving license restriction or suspension in effect from (2) (b) and two points on any existing driving license. In the absence of any restrictions or suspension, a one year restriction on obtaining a drivers license or one year suspension of driving privileges and two points on any existing driving license.[/i]
More controversial things other states have:
A person who knowingly propels or causes to be propelled any potentially lethal projectile over or across private land without authorization also commits trespass. A potentially lethal projectile includes any projectile launched from any firearm, bow, crossbow or similar tensile device. An offense is a summary of the third degree.
Trespassing is permitted by unarmed licensed hunters in order to pursue a wounded game bird or animal, except that if the owner of the land instructs the hunter to leave, the hunter must leave immediately. The most direct route into and off the property shall be observed. Any person who fails to leave such land when instructed is subject to the provisions of .........: Simple Trespass.
A person other than a person possessing a firearm may, unless previously prohibited in writing or orally by the property owner, enter on foot upon the property of another person for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog. The person shall not remain on the property beyond the reasonable time necessary to retrieve the dog
Loss of civil complaint
1. Injury occurring during trespass removes legal recourse from the trespasser to collect any damages from the landowner or designated agent.
2. Trespass shall be universal in meaning for any activity including hunting and trapping.
3. The immunity from unlawful trespass is lost to the landowner or lawful agent in the event of the use of devices or methods designed to harm, immobilize, or cause monetary damage to person, equipment or machine, or any device or method reasonably expected to cause harm or damage to prevent trespass
Posting in a manner prescribed by law
(1) It is recognized that all land in ......, other than that owned by the state or itís agencies, are private property.
(2) Reasonable and obvious notice is required by landowner or authorized person to prosecute under 18 Pa. C.S. ß3503 as defined.
a. Reasonable and obvious are defined as:
(1) Verbal order of landowner or authorized person to leave property.
(2) Properly served, or letter by certified mail with return reciept, stating actor(s) are not to enter onto property for any, or specific, activity.
(3) Posting upon treeís, posts, or other fixtures to the property signs advertising that trespass is not allowed.
(a) Signs not required to be of any fixed size.
(b) Signs not required to have landowner or authorized persons contact information.
(c) Signs shall be of a color and size that make them noticable in all seasons.
(d) Signs shall be located in a manner that an observer should be able to see signs to his left and right when standing between signs from a reasonable distance to the front of the signs.
(e) Landowner or authorized person has no requirement to provide written permission to any person (s) so authorized entry onto posted land though the practice is encouraged
(f) Landowner or authorized person retains absolute authority to order those with permission off the property at any time and the right to bring charges for those so refusing the order.
(5) The use of bright blue oil base paint on trees to mark property boundaries. The paint mark must be a vertical mark at least 2 inches wide and at least 8 inches in length. The mark must be at least 3 feet from the ground but no more than 6 feet high. An observer should be able to see marks to his left and right when standing between marked trees from a reasonable distance to the front of the signs.
(5) Signage or paint marks advertising against trespass shall be universal in meaning for any activity including hunting and trapping.
Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.