Trespassing is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, which means you could end up going to jail if a judge convicts you of the crime. In fact, you could spend up to 9 months behind bars – and you could end up paying up to $10,000 in fines.
What is Trespassing?
Trespassing – technically called criminal trespass in Wisconsin – is intentionally entering someone else’s property (a house, a building, a store, an outdoor property or any other location) without consent from someone who’s legally on the premises. It’s not enough to simply enter, though; you must have entered under circumstances that tend to “create or provoke a breach of the peace.”
What is a Breach of the Peace?
The term breach of the peace refers to any violation of peace and order, so it can mean nearly anything. Here are a few things that could constitute a breach of the peace:
- Swearing and profanity
- Abusive language
- An act of violence
- An act likely to produce violence
- An act that makes someone fear for his or her safety
- Noisy behavior
- Anything that causes a public disturbance
What is Trespassing on Private Property, Such as Land?
You can’t enter any enclosed land that belongs to someone else without consent from its owner – even if it’s just a big, empty field. Landowners are required to place signs in at least two conspicuous areas for every 40 acres of private land Doing so could be considered trespass to land, which could result in a fine.
What About Trespassing Charges During Hunting Season?
Hunters are always required to try to retrieve game, but they can’t trespass to do so. You need permission to retrieve game from someone else’s property except if:
- The land is “open” in the Managed Forest Law program
- Land considered “inholdings,” which means it’s private land surrounded by public land
Related: Wisconsin’s criminal penalties
Were You Charged With Trespassing?
If you were charged with trespassing, you may need to work with an attorney to get the best possible outcome in your case. Your lawyer will ask you questions about the incident that led to your criminal charges, explain what Wisconsin’s trespassing consequences are and talk to you about your legal options. Call us at 414-383-6700 now – we might be able to help you.