Friday, July 23, 2010

Trespasser- the definition

A trespasser is a person who is present on property that belongs to someone else without that owner's permission.

It doesn't matter if the trespasser is a transient (with or without government permission papers) "just passing through" or an agent sent by the government for some "legal" purpose.

If the trespasser cuts a fence or kicks down a door to gain entry this is above and beyond the trespass; it is another wrong in addition to the trespass. Destruction is not a prerequisite to trespassing.

It is not possible to trespass on "government property" since government can't actually "own" anything. Government doesn't possess anything it did not steal from the real owner, or "purchase" with stolen (including counterfeited) money. A thief does not own that which he possesses, and has no say in what is done with that property.



  1. Does simple presence conflate to "harm", or force?

    If I cut across an unused portion of a plot of land-doing no substantive damage-am I somehow liable for something? What?

    Likewise, what if I set up a hot-dog stand on the parking lot of a long vacant retail building? Have I caused any damage? Done any "harm" to anyone?

    If I disrupt something, or otherwise cause damage, I certainly think that that is a violation-but I'm not so certain about simple presence is. Seems to me that that is a bureaucratic notion rather than a moral one, but that's just me.

  2. You might owe the owner an apology if he demands one if you do no damage. I don't see how your liability, your restitution, would be greater than that, especially if the owner is an absentee owner.

    I think there are different degrees of trespass. Your scenario is the mildest.