Louisiana Trespassing Laws: What You Need to Know

Louisiana: Fast Facts on Trespassing

  • Trespass Law Covers: Structures, Dwellings, Land, Vehicles
  • Crime Class: Misdemeanor
  • Fencing Required?: No.
  • Signage Required?: No.
  • Verbal Notice Required?: No, but does count as notice barring entry if given by owner.
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Louisiana Trespassing Law Overview

Louisiana’s laws covering trespassing are in practice pretty simple. Unfortunately, the statutes are written in an extremely obtuse and very lengthy way that is not easy to understand for people not already fluent at reading and interpreting such documents.

The primary section covering criminal trespass is quite long, and organized in a way that makes it easy to become confused. I will do my best to unravel the state statutes so that you can learn what you need to know a little more easily.

Also of note, Louisiana is one of a few states that have specific language covering the piloting of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles over the property of someone else for the purposes of filming the property or the people on it.

Doing so counts as criminal trespassing. I’ll be sure to highlight that, and go over it when it comes up in the statutes. Okay, get comfortable and let’s get cracking.

Relevant Louisiana State Statutes

  • RS 14:2 Definitions
  • RS 14:63 Criminal Trespass
  • RS 14:63.3 Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden
  • RS 14:63.4 Aiding and abetting others to enter or remain on premises where forbidden

Before we delve into the densest and longest section covering criminal trespassing in the Louisiana state statutes, we will dip into the definitions.

You should always begin with the definitions when reading any legal document, since a clever twist on an otherwise common word could change entire portions of a law as written to mean something other than what you are expecting:

§2. Definitions

A. In this Code the terms enumerated shall have the designated meanings:

(3) “Dangerous weapon” includes any gas, liquid or other substance or instrumentality, which, in the manner used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm.

(4) “Felony” is any crime for which an offender may be sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.

(6) “Misdemeanor” is any crime other than a felony.

(7) “Person” includes a human being from the moment of fertilization and implantation and also includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not.

(8) “Property” refers to both public and private property, movable and immovable, and corporeal and incorporeal property.


The key takeaway from this section is the definition of “Property” which refers to public or private property, movable or immovable, corporeal or incorporeal. So this means structures and land, along with vehicles for the purposes of this chapter in the statutes.

Okay, strap in and hold on tight. We are diving right into the heavy-duty stuff. Considering that this section is so long and so dense, I will forgo my typical commentary format that I place at the end of each section in lieu of inserting my commentary where appropriate between breaks, which will be obviously noticeable throughout the body of statute.

This should make it a little bit easier for you to catch the salient points, and get through this enormous section in something resembling good order:

§63. Criminal trespass

A. No person shall enter any structure, watercraft, or movable owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.

B.(1) No person shall enter upon immovable property owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.

(2) For purposes of this Subsection, the phrase “enter upon immovable property” as used in this Subsection, in addition to its common meaning, signification, and connotation, shall include the operation of an unmanned aircraft system as defined by R.S. 14:337 in the air space over immovable property owned by another with the intent to conduct surveillance of the property or of any individual lawfully on the property.

(3) The provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall not apply to any person operating an unmanned aircraft system in compliance with federal law or Federal Aviation Administration regulations or authorization.

C.(1) No person shall remain in or upon property, movable or immovable, owned by another without express, legal, or implied authorization.

(2) For purposes of this Subsection, the phrase “remain in or upon property” as used in this Subsection, in addition to its common meaning, signification, and connotation, shall include the operation of an unmanned aircraft system as defined by R.S. 14:337 in the air space over immovable property owned by another with the intent to conduct surveillance of the property or of any individual lawfully on the property.

(3) The provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall not apply to any person operating an unmanned aircraft system in compliance with federal law or Federal Aviation Administration regulations or authorization.


Louisiana does not pull any punches with the definition of trespassing: If you enter or remain on or in any property of another person, whether movable or immovable, without express or legal authorization, you are guilty of criminal trespassing.

This includes the operation of any unmanned aircraft (that means a drone) in the airspace over any immovable property with the intent to conduct surveillance of the property or anyone on the property.

Now, don’t go thinking that just because you are not up to some “spy game” kind of stuff flying your drone around that this statute will not apply to you; the strict definition of surveillance can easily be applied to any drone that uses an optical sensor to record or transmit visual data either to a memory device or a receiver screen. Don’t risk it!


D. It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution for a violation of Subsection A, B, or C of this Section, that the accused had express, legal, or implied authority to be in the movable or on the immovable property.

E. The following persons may enter or remain upon the structure, watercraft, movable or immovable property, of another:

(1) A duly commissioned law enforcement officer in the performance of his duties.

(2) Any firefighter, whether or not a member of a volunteer or other fire department, and any employee or agent of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry engaged in locating and suppressing a fire.

(3) Emergency medical personnel engaged in the rendering of medical assistance to an individual.

(4) Any federal, state or local government employee, public utility employee or agent engaged in suppressing or dealing with an emergency that presents an imminent danger to human safety or health or to the environment.

(5) Any federal, state or local government employee, public utility employee or agent in the performance of his duties when otherwise authorized by law to enter or remain on immovable or movable property.

(6) Any person authorized by a court of law to enter or remain on immovable property.

(7) Any person exercising the mere right of passage to an enclosed estate, as otherwise provided by law.


This is one of Louisiana’s rare exceptions allowing you to be on the property of another person. if you have a landlocked piece of property that forces you to cross someone else’s property to access it so long as you were following the appropriate laws for doing so to the letter.


F. The following persons may enter or remain upon immovable property of another, unless specifically forbidden to do so by the owner or other person with authority, either orally or in writing:

(1) A professional land surveyor or his authorized personnel, engaged in the “practice of land surveying”, as defined in R.S. 37:682.

(2) A person, affiliate, employee, agent or contractor of any business which is regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission or by a local franchising authority or the Federal Communication Commission under the Cable Reregulation Act of 1992 or of a municipal or public utility, while acting in the course and scope of his employment or agency relating to the operation, repair, or maintenance of a facility, servitude or any property located on the immovable property which belongs to such a business.

(3) Any person making a delivery, soliciting, selling any product or service, conducting a survey or poll, a real estate licensee or other person who has a legitimate reason for making a delivery, conducting business or communicating with the owner, lessee, custodian or a resident of the immovable property, and who, immediately upon entry, seeks to make the delivery, to conduct business or to conduct the communication.

(4) An employee of the owner, lessee or custodian of the immovable property while performing his duties, functions and responsibilities in the course and scope of his employment.

(5) The owner of domestic livestock or his employees or agents while in the process of retrieving his domestic livestock that have escaped from an area fenced to retain such domestic livestock.

(6) The owner of a domestic animal while in the sole process of merely retrieving his domestic animal from immovable property and not having a firearm or other weapon on his person.

(7) Any candidate for political office or any person working on behalf of a candidate for a political office.

(8) The owner or occupant of a watercraft or vessel traveling in salt water engaged in any lawful purpose for the purpose of retrieval of his property or for obtaining assistance in an emergency situation.


A couple more exceptions to entering or remaining on someone else’s property assuming you have not already been forbidden by the owner or an owner’s lawful agent from doing so.

If you are a farmer or other owner of domestic livestock that have broken loose from their pen or holding area under someone else’s property, you may legally chase them down in order to secure them.

Similarly, anyone who owns a domestic animal – a dog, cat or similar pet – may cross or enter someone else’s property in order to retrieve their animal so long as you do not have a firearm or weapon on your person. That last bit is certainly a gotcha for many of us, preppers!


G. The following penalties shall be imposed for a violation of this Section:

(1) For the first offense, the fine shall be not less than one hundred dollars and not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.

(2) For the second offense, the fine shall be not less than three hundred dollars and not more than seven hundred fifty dollars, or imprisonment for not more than ninety days, or both.

(3) For the third offense and all subsequent offenses, the fine shall be not less than five hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisonment for not less than sixty days and not more than six months, or both, and forfeiture to the law enforcement authority of any property seized in connection with the violation.

(4) A person may be convicted of a second offense and any subsequent offenses regardless of whether any prior conviction involved the same structure, watercraft, movable or immovable property and regardless of the time sequence of the occurrence of the offenses.

I. A minor ten years old or younger shall not be arrested, detained or apprehended for the crime of trespass.


Above, paragraphs 1 through 4 detail the penalty schedule for criminal trespassing. The subsequent subsection (I) also states that a child of 10 years old or younger shall not be arrested or otherwise detained for the crime of trespassing. Hopefully, it was accidental or if not their parents will just give the little miscreant a lesson.


J. Although not required by this Section, notice that entrance upon any structure, watercraft, movable, or immovable property owned by another is prohibited may be indicated by either of the following:

(1) A sign or signs posted on or in the property at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably expected to be seen.

(2) The placement of identifying purple paint marks on the trees or posts on the property, provided that such marks are:

(a) Vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width.

(b) Placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground nor more than five feet from the ground.

(c) Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than one hundred feet apart on forest land, as defined in R.S. 3:3622, or one thousand feet apart on land other than forest land.


The remainder of the section details the guidelines for posting specific no trespassing signage or marks consisting of purple paint or inks on trees or posts in accordance with the standard method for such markings. Note that these signs and markings are not required to be posted to be in compliance with trespass law!

We have two sections after this last one, the first covering specific laws and language on entering or remaining on land and property after being specifically forbidden, an important distinction from trespassing without specific notice being given:

§63.3. Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden

A.(1) No person shall without authority go into or upon or remain in or upon or attempt to go into or upon or remain in or upon any structure, watercraft, or any other movable, or immovable property, which belongs to another, including public buildings and structures, ferries, and bridges, or any part, portion, or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, including by means of any sign hereinafter described, by any owner, lessee, or custodian of the property or by any other authorized person.

(2) For the purposes of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, “sign” means either:

(a) A sign or signs posted on or in the structure, watercraft, or any other movable, or immovable property, including public buildings and structures, ferries and bridges, or part, portion or area thereof, at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably expected to be seen.

(b) The placement of identifying purple paint marks on the trees or posts on the property, provided that such marks are:

(i) Vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width.

(ii) Placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground nor more than five feet from the ground.

(iii) Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than one hundred feet apart on forest land, as defined in R.S. 3:3622, or one thousand feet apart on land other than forest land.

B. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both.


Violation of this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor that will get you up to a $500 fine or imprisonment for up to six months or both, if you have been very naughty, or caught the judge on a bad day.

Note that the signage described in this section is the same as that described in the previous section on general criminal trespass.

The final section in the Louisiana state statutes covers the aiding and abetting of trespassers:

§63.4. Aiding and abetting others to enter or remain on premises where forbidden

A.(1) No person shall incite, solicit, urge, encourage, exhort, instigate, or procure any other person to go into or upon or to remain in or upon any structure, watercraft, or any other movable, which belongs to another, including public buildings and structures, ferries, and bridges, or any part, portion, or area thereof, knowing that such other person has been forbidden to go or remain there, either orally or in writing, including by means of any sign hereinafter described, by the owner, lessee, or custodian of the property or by any other authorized person.

(2) For the purposes of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, “sign” means either:

(a) A sign or signs posted on or in the structure, watercraft or any other movable, including public buildings and structures, ferries and bridges, or part, portion or area thereof, at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably expected to be seen.

(b) The placement of identifying purple paint marks on the trees or posts on the property, provided that such marks are:

(i) Vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width.

(ii) Placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground nor more than five feet from the ground.

(iii) Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than one hundred feet apart on forest land, as defined in R.S. 3:3622, or one thousand feet apart on land other than forest land.


Plainly stated, you cannot incite, encourage, or otherwise cajole anyone to trespass criminally in Louisiana, else you are guilty of aiding and abetting criminal trespass. Come on! Use your head…

Conclusion

Louisiana trespass laws are pretty easy to understand, with the only downside being that the majority of them are hidden beneath lengthy, circuitous legal language.

Nonetheless, all forms of trespassing are misdemeanors or merely violations in the state and so long as you are not flagrantly impinging upon someone else’s property rights or flying your drone over their property while filming the premises below you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

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