Trespassing on Agricultural Land (Part 2)

by | Jan 14, 2019 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

  1. A person who is convicted of an offense pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-5), in addition to any other fine, penalty, or restitution which may be imposed by law, shall be liable to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee of the lands or of the tangible property for any reasonable and necessary expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee to ensure that the lands or the tangible property are restored to their condition prior to commission of the offense. The court shall order the defendant to pay as appropriate the amount of expenses incurred pursuant to this subsection, unless the amount cannot be ascertained or is subject to dispute in a manner that cannot be resolved without an evidentiary hearing, in which case the amount shall be determined in an action brought pursuant to R.S.4:17-2.

Sub-section c continues with the Legislature’s consistent trend of making the penalties for offenses harsher and harsher. One point in favor of adjusting the dollar thresholds for offenses and penalties is inflation. That is to say, if $100 was the appropriate penalty when the law was originally drafted several decades ago, it makes sense to increase the penalty to bring it in line with what $100 is now equivalent to.

R.S.4:17-2 is amended to read as follows:

b. In addition to any other applicable fines, penalties, or restitution that may be assessed pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-6) or any other law, any person who knowingly or recklessly operates a motorized vehicle or rides horseback upon the lands of another without obtaining and in possession of the written permission of the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee thereof, or damages or injures any tangible property, including, but not limited to, any fence, building, feedstocks, crops, live trees, or any domestic animals, located on the lands of another shall be liable to:

d. Nothing in this article shall relieve owners of agricultural or horticultural lands from the obligation to provide conspicuous posting prohibiting trespass on the waters or banks along or around any waters listed for stocking with fish in the current fish code adopted pursuant to section 32 of P.L.1948, c. 448 (C.13:1B-30) before a trespass violation may be found.