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Trespassing is considered a serious offense in the state of West Virginia. The laws surrounding trespassing are designed to protect personal property from theft or damage. Likewise, trespassing can lead to harassment or other issue that could impact personal safety. The consequences for breaking these laws can result in fines and periods of incarceration. While the laws are certainly effective, they can sometimes be confusing. It is important that people understand what is considered trespassing so that they can avoid future legal issues.
West Virginia Law indicates that any parcel of land that is posted, fenced, or cultivated for crops is considered private property. If a person proceeds onto such land, then he or she is trespassing by definition of the law. If you fail to have written consent from the landowner, then you are committing a misdemeanor crime. The results may be:
- First-time offense-$100-$500 fine
- Second offense-$500-$1000 fine
- Third offense-$1000-$1500 fine
Keep in mind, a land parcel does not have to be posted. There are some “common sense” elements to the law that assume that people understand that fencing or regular use of land indicates that it is owned by someone else.
Personal structures are also protected by West Virginia’s trespassing laws. A personal structure can be a home, garage, shed, or any other structure that indicates personal use. You may be found guilty of a misdemeanor if you enter a structure without permission. Likewise, if you are invited in, but then are asked to leave and refuse, you can also be charged with trespassing and receive a fine of $100. A single invitation into a home or personal structure does not grant you the ongoing rights to that property. If you are asked by the owner to leave, the law indicates that you should comply.
You can receive a hefty fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail if you trespass on government property. This is considered a felony offense. You can also be charged with a misdemeanor if you assist someone trespassing on government property. You could be fined up to $500.
If a person causes damage, has been asked to leave, or has a gun in his or her possession, then prison time could be added to the sentence, as well.
If you trespass on school property, or if you are asked to leave and refuse, then you could be charged with a misdemeanor and asked to pay a $15 fine. Any faculty member has the right to ask a person to leave the property. Failure to comply is against the law.
Charleston, West Virginia Attorneys
If you are located in Charleston, West Virginia and need quality defense attorneys, contact Hendrickson & Long. Allow their experience as quality litigators to work for you. Courtrooms can be intimidating and legal proceedings can sometimes be difficult to understand. You do not have to go it alone. Contact Hendrickson & Long today for a consultation regarding your case.