Trespass Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Trespass, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Trespass?
Trespass is entering into another person’s property without permission of the owner or legal authority and causing damages no matter how slight.If it is with an illegal attempt it is crime, it can also be a civil wrong (tort) such as dumping waste or removing trees on the property.In addition to damages, a court may grant an injunction prohibiting any further continuing, repeated or permanent trespass
History and Meaning of Trespass
The legal concept of trespass has been around for centuries, and it is widely recognized in both criminal and civil law. Trespass is defined as the act of intentionally entering onto someone else's property without permission, and it can include physical entry onto the property or interference with the use of the property.
Trespass law dates back to medieval times when land ownership was a central issue. At that time, trespass was regarded as a criminal offense, and could result in punishment and imprisonment. As the laws evolved, so did the concept of trespass. Today, trespass is recognized as both a criminal offense and a civil wrong.
Examples of Trespass
- A person enters their neighbor's yard without permission and begins to pick the fruit from their fruit tree.
- A construction crew enters a homeowner's property without permission and begins to dig a hole for utility work.
- A hunter enters onto private property without permission to hunt for game.
- A person parks their car on private property without the owner's permission.
- A landlord enters a tenant's apartment without permission.
Legal Terms Similar to Trespass
- Nuisance - an interference with the use and enjoyment of property caused by a wrongful act.
- Conversion - the wrongful exercise of control over someone else's property.
- Interference with contractual relations - intentionally interfering with business relationships or contracts to cause economic harm.
- Easement - an agreement that allows someone else to use another person's property for a specific purpose, such as a right-of-way.
- Adverse possession - acquiring ownership of someone else's property by using it openly and without permission for a period of time specified by law.