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What is Trespassing?


Stephen Shepard

Stephen Shepard is the Principal Attorney and Counselor at Law at The Law Office of Stephen P. Shepard, LLC in Towson, MD.

Towson, MD criminal defense attorney Stephen P. Shepard explains the crime of trespassing

Trespassing on posted property is a misdemeanor criminal offense in Maryland in which a person willfully enters the property of another without permission and a sign was posted on the property in an obvious manner warning against unauthorized entry. If convicted of trespassing (for a first offense), a person is subject to a maximum penalty of up to 90 days of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $500.00. Subsequent trespassing convictions have higher possible maximum penalties depending on when the offense occurred in relation to the prior trespassing conviction. See Md. Code Ann. Criminal Law 6-402.

Conspicuousness of Posted Signs

To support a conviction for trespassing on posted property, a sign or other form of notice must have been posted in a conspicuous or obvious manner. While the precise wording of “no trespassing” or “trespassers forbidden” is not necessary, some form of reasonable notice prohibiting unauthorized entry must be present. See Monroe v. State, 51 Md. App. 661 (1982). In Monroe, the Court of Special Appeals held that “conspicuously posted signs indicating that the presence of unauthorized persons is proscribed satisfies the statute.” Md. Code Ann. Criminal Law 6-402 clarifies that “paint marks” are sufficient when they conform with regulations that the Department of Natural Resources adopts and are made on trees or posts that are located at each road entrance to the property and adjacent to public roadways, public waterways, and other land adjoining the property. See COMAR for the proper requirements of a “paint mark” with regard to trespassing.

Baltimore County, MD Trespassing Attorney

Contact our office to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with trespassing. During a consultation, you and our principal attorney will review the facts of your case and discuss possible defenses to avoid a conviction altogether or actions that you may take to avoid some of the consequences of a conviction.