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Trespass to Land in Wisconsin: Understanding the Laws and Consequences

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | Sep 25, 2023

Trespassing, the unlawful entry onto another person's property, is a legal issue that can vary from state to state. In Wisconsin, trespass to land is a serious matter that is governed by specific laws and regulations designed to protect property owners' rights. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of trespass to land in Wisconsin, its legal implications, and the potential consequences for those who violate these laws.

Understanding Trespass to Land in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, trespass to land is a legal term used to describe the act of entering or remaining on someone else's property without their permission. This can include entering private land, ignoring "no trespassing" signs, or even failing to leave when asked to do so by the property owner or their agent. Trespass to land can occur on both residential and commercial properties, and it can involve various scenarios, such as hunting without permission, walking through someone's yard, or camping on private land without authorization.

Key Elements of Trespass to Land

To establish a trespass to land case in Wisconsin, several key elements must be present:

  1. Unauthorized Entry: The defendant must have entered or remained on the property without permission or a legal right to do so.

  2. Knowledge: In some cases, it may be necessary to prove that the defendant knew they were trespassing or had reason to believe they were trespassing.

  3. Notice: Property owners typically need to provide reasonable notice that entry is prohibited. This can be done through signage, fencing, or other means.

  4. Intent: In some situations, the plaintiff may need to prove that the defendant had the intent to trespass or knew their actions would result in trespass.

Legal Consequences of Trespass to Land in Wisconsin

Trespassing in Wisconsin can result in both civil and criminal consequences:

  1. Civil Liability: Property owners can file a civil lawsuit against trespassers to seek damages for any harm caused by the trespass. This can include property damage, loss of use, and emotional distress.

  2. Criminal Charges: Trespassing may lead to criminal charges, particularly if the trespasser refuses to leave after being told to do so by the property owner or their agent. Penalties for criminal trespass in Wisconsin can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

  3. Criminal Trespass to Dwelling: Entering someone's home without permission is a more severe offense known as "criminal trespass to a dwelling." This is a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin, punishable by up to 9 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Preventing Trespass to Land

Property owners in Wisconsin can take several steps to prevent trespassing:

  1. Post No Trespassing Signs: Clearly mark the boundaries of your property with "no trespassing" signs to provide notice to potential trespassers.

  2. Maintain Fencing: Install and maintain fences or other physical barriers to deter unauthorized entry.

  3. Communicate: If you encounter someone on your property, communicate with them and ask them to leave if they do not have permission to be there.

  4. Contact Law Enforcement: If a trespasser refuses to leave or becomes confrontational, contact local law enforcement for assistance.


Trespass to land in Wisconsin is a serious matter that can result in legal consequences for those who violate property rights. Property owners have the right to protect their land from unauthorized entry, and trespassers may face civil liability and criminal charges. Understanding the laws surrounding trespass to land and taking preventative measures can help property owners safeguard their property and maintain their peace of mind. Always consult with legal professionals for advice tailored to your specific situation.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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