What are South Carolina's Trespassing Laws? How can a landowner protect themselves from aggressive hunter trespassing"?
We live in the country on approx. 300 acres of land - during the hunting season we are hunters are constantly driving onto our property, via our driveways or just crossing ditches to the fire breaks. The reason given is they are "looking for dogs". My question is if we placed no trespassing signs all along our property. Would there be a procedure to follow to ensure the signs mean enforcement of the law (i.e. do we have to wait any period of time before the signs "take effect")? Thanks
My name is Bob Johnston and I'm an attoreny in Myrtle Beach. Believe it or not, there are 23 separate Trespassing statutes in South Carolina. The one that fits your problem is Section 16-11-620. It explains that there are two ways in which one can commit the crime of Trespass.
One, is Trespassing after being notified not to. Usually this is with signs, but can also be a verbal warning (which can be hard to prove), and it can also be done with certified mail.
The second type of Trespass is when they are already on your property and you ask them to leave and they do not.
No, you do not have to wait a certain period of time before the signs take affect. They are fully enforceable the second you hammer the last nail. If someone then Trespasses, you need to immediately call the police. Unfortunatley, the police are given wide discretion in these matters and its possible that they may simply instruct the people to leave and not come back. Then if they return they are certain to be cited for Trespass. If the police come and just issue a warning, make sure you ask for a police report.
You should know that its perfectly legal to photograph your own property and even video tape it.
You should also know that if these people should damage your property in any way, or if they engage in any activity that is illegal, then there are additional criminal statutes that apply to that as well.
I hope this helps.
Location: Myrtle Beach (Horry County)
Web Site: RobertJohnstonLaw.com
Areas of Practice: Criminal Defense & Personal Injury (additional legal services available)