Issue 05 04 December 30 2005 AGRICULTURAL LAW AND TAXATION BRIEFS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AN

Document Sample
Issue 05 04 December 30 2005 AGRICULTURAL LAW AND TAXATION BRIEFS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AN Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                           Issue 05-04, December 30, 2005
               AGRICULTURAL LAW AND TAXATION BRIEFS
           DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND CONSUMER ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

            ILLINOIS LAWS CREATE NEW THREATS TO FARM TRESPASSERS
                                         By Donald L. Uchtmann*

Synopsis: This article summarizes the impacts of 2005 Illinois legislation on trespassers who
enter agricultural lands. By making parents and vehicle owners civilly liable for damage caused
by farm trespassers under 16 who use a motor vehicle (e.g., an ATV) and by stiffening criminal
penalties for criminal trespass and criminal damage to property, the Illinois legislature has
created three expanded threats to would-be trespassers on certain agricultural property.

Many Illinois farmers believe that trespassing                Liability of Parent, Guardian, and Vehicle
has been a growing problem, especially                        Owner for Damages Caused by a Farm
incidents involving ATVs or other vehicles. In                Trespasser under 16 Using a Motor Vehicle
2005 the Illinois legislature responded by
passing two laws that create three new or                     Public Act 94-512, effective January 1, 2006,
expanded threats affecting would-be trespassers.              affects the ability of a farmer to collect damages
                                                              in a civil action where a trespasser under 16 uses
Background on the Law of Trespass                             a motor vehicle (e.g., an ATV) to trespass on
                                                              certain “land.” In such circumstances the parent
A trespass is entry upon another’s property                   or legal guardian of the trespasser and the
without permission. Trespass is a “civil” wrong.              vehicle owner will be jointly and severally liable
The aggrieved landowner can hire an attorney                  to the landowner for the actual damages caused
and file a civil suit against the trespasser. If the          by the trespassing youth.
landowner wins, the owner can collect damages
for injury to crops, etc. Note: Throughout this               In this amendment to the Criminal Code, “land”
article, “landowner” means the one in rightful                is defined broadly and includes cropland,
possession of the land and would include a                    orchards, pastures, feed lots, timber land, and
tenant who leases the land from the owner.                    natural prairie. Motor vehicle is also defined
                                                              rather broadly and includes, e.g., all-terrain-
Trespassing is also a “crime” if the entrant had              vehicles (but does not include snowmobiles).
received prior notice that entry was forbidden,
for example, where “No Trespassing” signs have                The Act also clarifies what damages can be
been conspicuously posted at the entrance.                    collected in a civil action, including court costs
When a person remains on private property after               and attorney’s fees. This new legislation should
being asked to leave by the landowner, the                    encourage adults (the parents, guardians, and
trespass is also a “crime.”                                   vehicle owners who also will be liable for civil
                                                              damages caused by trespassing youths) to be
For this criminal conduct (either the trespasser              more proactive in preventing youths under 16
entered after receiving notice that entry was                 from trespassing with motor vehicles on farms.
forbidden or refused to leave when asked to
leave by the landowner), the trespasser can be                Increased Penalties for Criminal Trespass
prosecuted by the State’s Attorney and, if                    When the Trespasser Uses a Motor Vehicle to
convicted, fined or sent to jail for the crime of             Trespass on Certain Agricultural Lands
“criminal trespass to real property.”
                                                              Related new legislation, Public Act 94-509, was
What if, the trespasser also knowingly damages                effective in August 2005. It increased criminal
landowner’s property without consent while                    penalties for “criminal trespass to real property”
trespassing? The trespasser now has committed                 when the trespasser uses a motor vehicle while
a second crime – “criminal damage to property.”               trespassing on certain agricultural lands. The

                                                        1
                                                                           Issue 05-04, December 30, 2005
               AGRICULTURAL LAW AND TAXATION BRIEFS
           DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND CONSUMER ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

crime is now a Class A misdemeanor, no matter                 under 16 who uses a motor vehicle (e.g., an
what the trespasser’s age. This stiffens the                  ATV) to trespass on certain farm or timber land.
penalty – doubling the potential jail time from
six months to one year (less a day) and boosting              Another amendment, effective in August 2005,
the maximum fine to $2,500.                                   threatens trespassers of all ages who trespass on
                                                              certain agricultural lands using a motor vehicle.
Note that the increased penalties key on two                  The new threat is increased criminal penalties,
things: (a) trespassing with a motor vehicle and              e.g., double the previous jail time.
(b) trespassing on certain lands. Motor vehicle
is broadly defined and includes an off-road                   A third amendment, also effective in August
vehicle, motorcycle, and other powered two-                   2005, threatens trespassers of all ages who
wheel vehicles. For the increased penalties to                intentionally damage certain farm property. The
apply, the trespass also needs to be on cropland,             new threat is stiffer criminal penalties, e.g., up to
an enclosed area containing livestock, an                     15 years where the damage exceeds $100,000.
orchard, or a barn or other agricultural building
containing livestock.                                         The new “triple threat” is intended to discourage
                                                              would-be trespassers from entering another’s
Increased Penalties for Criminal Damage to                    agricultural lands without permission.
Certain Agricultural Property
                                                              References
Public Act 94-509 also increased the penalties
for “criminal damage to property” if the                      The crime of “criminal trespass to real property”
damaged property is a grain elevator, farm                    is addressed in Article 21 of the Illinois Criminal
equipment, or immovable items of agricultural                 Code of 1961. 720 ILCS 5/21-3.
production, including grain bins and barns.
                                                              The crime of “criminal damage to property” is
The criminal penalties are increased generally,               addressed in Article 21 of the Illinois Criminal
and they depend on the amount of damage. If                   Code of 1961. 720 ILCS 5/21-1.
the damage to property exceeds $100,000, for
example, the crime is now a Class 1 Felony                    Maximum fines and prison terms for various
punishable by up to 15 years in prison.                       classes of misdemeanors and felonies are set
Interestingly, these new criminal penalties now               forth in the Unified Code of Corrections. “Jail
replicate those for criminal damage to property               times” for felonies are seen at 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1
in schools and places of worship.                             and for misdemeanors at 730 ILCS 5/5-8-3.
                                                              Maximum fines are found at 730 ILCS 5/5-9-1.
Summary of the New “Triple Threat”
                                                              For guidance in accessing the Illinois Compiled
Trespassing on Illinois farms is now riskier                  Statutes (ILCS) and Public Acts, see Uchtmann
because of the triple threat created by new                   and Garwood, A FARMDOC USERS’ GUIDE FOR
legislation. One amendment, effective January                 ACCESSING LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION FROM
1, 2006, threatens the trespasser’s parent or                 THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY WEBSITE
guardian and the vehicle owner with civil                     (http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/legal/articles/AL
liability for damages caused by a trespasser                  TBs/ALTB_05-03/ALTB_05-03.pdf).

*************************************************************************************
*Uchtmann is a Professor in the Agricultural Law Group of the Department of Agricultural and
Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. AGRICULTURAL LAW AND TAXATION
BRIEFS are available at www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/legal.


                                                        2

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Illinois Private Property Trespass Notice document sample