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Old 07-07-2003, 07:32 PM
Jim B. Jim B. is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,755
What is a 'Trespassing Warrant'?

For those like me who are regular watchers of TV's Cops, you see it all the time. The police get some call about some disorderly person. They don't arrest the person. But they ask the owner of the establishment (or wherever it took place) if they want to fill out a "trespassing warrant". The party agrees, and then the cops go and present a copy to the offender as well.

What exactly is a trespassing warrant? More specifically, what is the legal definition of one? And trespassing is trespassing no matter how you look at it. What is the difference when you have a warrant for one? And while we're at it, how easy is it to get one? Can you simply take one out on, say, a nosy neighbor or friend?

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Old 07-07-2003, 09:01 PM
Stan Doubt Stan Doubt is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 723
IANAL, but as someone who works outdoors, frequently on private property, I may often be trespassing and not know it.

The laws in your state may be different, but in the states in which I have worked, I could assume it safe to enter private land while performing the scope of my duties, so long as the land was not marked with signs listing the name and address of the poster. Different regulations applied to the types of signs that could be posted (e.g., no hunting, no trespassing, no soliciting) and where.

My interpretation is that the landowner is responsible to provide a reasonable demarcation of his property to give potential trespassers the "heads up", especially at its borders where it adjoins a road or navigable stream. I was told (YMMV) that I could not be prosecuted for trespassing unless the land in question was properly marked.

Of course, I'm sure that "intent" has bearing on what offense a trespasser might be charged with.

It seems to me that if the warrant specifies a person, the landowner may not have taken the necessary steps to exclude trespassers, but wishes to bar a particular person from their property. This sounds a bit like a restraining order in which the entity being protected is a place rather than a person.
Old 07-08-2003, 04:34 PM
Big Tom Big Tom is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Nokesville, Va.
Posts: 29
I believe the official document is called a "Writ of Trespass". Several years ago, I had some trouble with a paper carrier that kept backing into our driveway and off into our yard, causing damage to our lawn. After many conversations with his boss, I had to threaten to exercise one of these. The process would have required me to submit the form to my local magistrate, who would then have the person served with the document. Then, if they trespassed, I could have had them arrested, but would still have had to appear in court to make it stick. Fortunately, the threat worked just fine.
Old 07-08-2003, 05:32 PM
sailor sailor is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington dc
Posts: 16,441
>> What exactly is a trespassing warrant? More specifically, what is the legal definition of one? And trespassing is trespassing no matter how you look at it.

If you enter a public establishment you are not tresspassing. if the owner serves you with a warrant then you are prohibited from going there and you would be trespassing. They can do that with anybody who has caused them trouble.


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