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What is a defiant trespasser?

If you are a New Jersey resident who has been charged with trespass, you need to know exactly what you are accused of having done. New Jersey has several trespassing laws, and one of the most interesting is that of defiant trespassing.

While the word defiant implies resistance, obstinance, uncooperativeness or some other type of bold disobedience, Title 2C, Section 18-3, of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice considers it to mean something entirely different with regard to trespass. You could be charged as a defiant trespasser if you enter or remain on one of the following types of property without permission:

  • A home
  • A school
  • A utility company
  • A research facility
  • The secure area of an airport
  • Any building where hazardous chemicals are made, stored or handled

In addition, defiant trespassing also applies if you peer into the windows or doors of a dwelling, hotel, motel, etc. for the purpose of invading the occupants’ privacy.

Required notice

The property owner or someone else authorized to do so must have given you notice that you could not trespass on the property. This notice can be given in one of the three following ways:

  1. By telling you to leave
  2. By posting a no trespassing sign or similar notice
  3. By fencing or otherwise enclosing the property

Affirmative defenses

There are three defenses to defiant trespassing. If the building or structure was abandoned or if you had reason to believe that the owner gave or would have given you permission to be and/or remain there, you cannot be convicted. Likewise, if the building was open to the public and you obeyed the conditions, if any, that applied to members of the public entering it and remaining there, you cannot be convicted. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
514 Brick Boulevard, Suite 6
Brick, NJ 08723

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