Hawaii State Trespassing Laws

Understanding your state’s trespassing laws is important if you want to protect both yourself and your interests.

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It would not be a good thing to be charged with trespassing for accidentally entering someone else’s property when you were out for a hike, for instance, but it also wouldn’t be good to overreact when someone else’s trespassing on your property, or to allow them to trespass because of a technicality.

Unfortunately, Hawaii is a state with extremely lengthy and intricate trespassing laws that seem to rely on convoluted reasoning to qualify various trespassing charges.

Fencing and signage are required to qualify certain types of trespassing, but not others, and there exists a curious set of exceptions if someone is going to or passing through government owned property that is otherwise publicly accessible.

You really need to sharpen your pencil and put on your reading glasses if you want to make sense of Hawaii’s trespassing laws, but this guide will give you an overview.

Hawaii Trespassing Law Overview

  • Depending on where the trespassing occurred and under what circumstances, trespassing may result in misdemeanor or felony charges in Hawaii.
  • Fencing is generally required to protect undeveloped land in Hawaii.
  • Agricultural land, developed or not, can be protected with signage or fencing in Hawaii.

What Constitutes Trespassing in Hawaii?

Hawaii is another state that defines the various charges of trespassing in the many individual statutes on the law books, so there is no one reliable definition for criminal trespassing and other related crimes.

You’ll have to go through it line by line and letter by letter if you want to have a complete picture.

However, the most informative definition is found in section 708-815, covering simple trespass.

It states plainly that a person commits the offense of a simple trespass if they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully in or upon the premises of another.

This is generally foundational to most trespassing laws found in other states, but it is not totally reliable for the state of Hawaii as many more serious charges concerning trespassing have a long list of qualifications.

708-815 Simple trespass

(1) A person commits the offense of simple trespass if the person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.
(2) Simple trespass is a violation.

Beyond this most simple of definitions, it is imperative that all citizens and visitors to Hawaii take the time to thoroughly read and understand the entirety of Hawaii’s statutes covering trespassing.

Though this article can serve as a foundational guide, it is nowhere close to encompassing the enormity of Hawaii’s laws on the subject.

Does Hawaii Require “No Trespassing” Signs?

No. Hawaii does not necessarily require posted no-trespassing signage, although signage is required to qualify certain crimes, namely criminal trespass in the second degree or criminal trespass upon government property.

Read the next section concerning fencing requirements and be sure to check out the complete excerpt from 708-814 as it mentions both signage and fencing at turns.

Is Fencing Required to Protect Property?

Again, no, not for all properties and in all instances but it is required for protecting developed or undeveloped agricultural property if signage is not otherwise posted.

Read the excerpt from 708-814 below for more details:

708-814 Criminal trespass in the second degree

(1) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass in the second degree if:
(a) The person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises that are enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders or are fenced;

(c) The person enters or remains unlawfully on agricultural lands without the permission of the owner of the land, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession of the land, and the agricultural lands:
(i) Are fenced, enclosed, or secured in a manner designed to exclude intruders;
(ii) Have a sign or signs displayed on the unenclosed cultivated or uncultivated agricultural land sufficient to give notice and reading as follows: “Private Property” or “Government Property – No Trespassing”. The sign or signs, containing letters no less than two inches in height, shall be placed at reasonable intervals no less than three signs to a mile along the boundary line of the land and at roads and trails entering the land in a manner and position as to be clearly noticeable from outside the boundary line; or

What Other Marks Indicate “No Trespassing”?

None. Hawaii, unlike other states, does not make allowances for any so-called “purple paint” laws when it comes to posting properties against trespassing.

Can Solicitors Ignore “No Trespassing” Signs?

Generally no, although the state is not known for being particularly harsh against solicitors who violate posted signs in this way.

Can Trespassing Result in Arrest in Hawaii?

Absolutely. Though most forms of trespassing in Hawaii are misdemeanors, a misdemeanor crime can still result in arrest of the offending party to say nothing of committing trespass which is a felony crime.

Can You Take Someone to Court for Trespassing?

Yes, and depending on whether or not damages were caused or you have grounds for a legitimate breach of quiet domain you might have a real case.

Also, if the offender has a record of criminality or repeat offensive trespassing, or was trespassing against you with obvious malicious intent this can easily result in a court case.

Special Instances of Trespassing in Hawaii

There are many special instances of trespassing in Hawaii’s law books. From trespassing on government land to trespassing against residential properties or dwellings containing an occupant who is elderly, incapacitated, or developmentally disabled, the state seems to have a special statute for every imaginable special case of trespassing and several that you can’t imagine.

Again, it is imperative that you thoroughly read and understand the entirety of Hawaii’s statutes concerning trespassing if you want to begin to understand the entirety of the laws.

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