Can we dispute trespassing charges if no sign was posted so we reasonably inferred that a trail was a public, especially since the residence couldn’t be seen?

I got a citation for trespassing on a trail. There weren’t any signs posted and the actual residence was out of sight, so my friends and I assumed we could park on the trail for a few minutes; it was not possible to park on the road due to space (It was too narrow with steep shoulders). The cops showed up and the owner pressed charges.

Asked on August 14, 2012 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, intent is non-exisistent in trespassing charges. Either you trespassed or not.  So unfortunately, it may require you to hire an attorney to talk with this homeowner and indicate the unreasonableness of his intentions. You need to understand he or she must have this happen all the time and somehow he or she refuses to place a sign.  This is not your fault but you are obligated to know if where you go is someone's private parcel.

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