Virginia Trespassing

Virginia Trespassing Criminal Defense

In Virginia trespass is a crime against the property rights of another.  For a person to be trespassing into the property of another in Virginia, a person in lawful possession of the property must have indicated to the trespasser that he or she was not to enter the property.  This means that notice must be established.  However, notice may be given orally, in writing, or through the use of a sign.  Additionally, in Virginia, the person providing the no trespass notice does not have to be the owner of the property, but only needs to be in lawful possession of the same.  Therefore, a person renting a home, apartment, or other dwelling has the right to keep undesired visitors away.

Trespassing in Virginia

§ 18.2-119. Trespass after having been forbidden to do so; penalties.

If any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by such persons or by the holder of any easement or other right-of-way authorized by the instrument creating such interest to post such signs on such lands, structures, premises or portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may be reasonably seen, or if any person, whether he is the owner, tenant or otherwise entitled to the use of such land, building or premises, goes upon, or remains upon such land, building or premises after having been prohibited from doing so by a court of competent jurisdiction by an order issued pursuant to §§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.2 through 16.1-278.6, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-278.15, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9 or § 19.2-152.10 or an ex parte order issued pursuant to § 20-103, and after having been served with such order, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not be construed to affect in any way the provisions of §§ 18.2-132 through 18.2-136.

[Top of Page]

Signs forbidding trespass in Virginia

§ 18.2-119.1. Validity of signs forbidding trespass; penalty.

If any person knowingly and intentionally posts No Trespassing signs on the land of another without the permission of a person authorized to post such signs on that land, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

[Top of Page]

Instigating others to trespass

§ 18.2-120. Instigating, etc., such trespass by others; preventing service to persons not forbidden to trespass.

If any person shall solicit, urge, encourage, exhort, instigate or procure another or others to go upon or remain upon the lands, buildings, or premises of another, or any part, portion or area thereof, knowing such other person or persons to have been forbidden, either orally or in writing, to do so by the owner, lessee, custodian or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or knowing such other person or persons to have been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted on such lands, buildings, premises or part, portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may reasonably be seen; or if any person shall, on such lands, buildings, premises or part, portion or area thereof prevent or seek to prevent the owner, lessee, custodian, person in charge or any of his employees from rendering service to any person or persons not so forbidden, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

[Top of Page]

Trespassing with intent to damage property

§ 18.2-121. Entering property of another for purpose of damaging it, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any person to enter the land, dwelling, outhouse or any other building of another for the purpose of damaging such property or any of the contents thereof or in any manner to interfere with the rights of the owner, user or the occupant thereof to use such property free from interference.

Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if a person intentionally selects the property entered because of the race, religious conviction, color or national origin of the owner, user or occupant of the property, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

[Top of Page]

Trespassing into school or church property

§ 18.2-128. Trespass upon church or school property.

A. Any person who, without the consent of some person authorized to give such consent, goes or enters upon, in the nighttime, the premises or property of any church or upon any school property for any purpose other than to attend a meeting or service held or conducted in such church or school property, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a church member or student, to enter upon or remain upon any church or school property in violation of (i) any direction to vacate the property by a person authorized to give such direction or (ii) any posted notice which contains such information, posted at a place where it reasonably may be seen. Each time such person enters upon or remains on the posted premises or after such direction that person refuses to vacate such property, it shall constitute a separate offense.

A violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, except that any person, other than a parent, who violates this subsection on school property with the intent to abduct a student shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

C. For purposes of this section: (i) “school property” includes a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100 and (ii) “church” means any place of worship and includes any educational building or community center owned or leased by a church.

[Top of Page]

Peeping or spying

§ 18.2-130. Peeping or spying into dwelling or enclosure.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon the property of another and secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure of any nature occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to use a peephole or other aperture to secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into a restroom, dressing room, locker room, hotel room, motel room, tanning bed, tanning booth, bedroom or other location or enclosure for the purpose of viewing any nonconsenting person who is totally nude, clad in undergarments, or in a state of undress exposing the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast and the circumstances are such that the person would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation or a correctional official or local or regional jail official conducting surveillance for security purposes or during an investigation of alleged misconduct involving a person committed to the Department of Corrections or to a local or regional jail.

D. As used in this section, “peephole” means any hole, crack or other similar opening through which a person can see.

E. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

[Top of Page]

Trespass by hunters

§ 18.2-132. Trespass by hunters and fishers.

Any person who goes on the lands, waters, ponds, boats or blinds of another to hunt, fish or trap without the consent of the landowner or his agent shall be deemed guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

[Top of Page]

Contact a Virginia trespassing criminal defense lawyer.


Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorneyrepresenting clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

By: Dom Rivera

This entry was posted in Virginia Crimes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.