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Legal-Kal
Legal-Kal, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 554
Experience:  Attorney at Law Offices of Khaled Issa
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My question is about tress passing laws in ga i have a land

Customer Question

my question is about tress passing laws in ga i have a land lease of 40 acres the boundary lines are marked with gray paint on the trees i have been using one of these trees to mount a climbing type stand that has a strap that hooks around the tree the
a joining land owner called the dept of natural recourses ranger an stated i was tress passing when the ranger approached me he stated that the tree belong to both land owners he said the law is that i could not have a strap around the on the other side that
he would give me a citation for trees passing if i did not remove my stand i think he is lying what do you think also where could the exact wording on tress passing laws thanks mhj
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Hello:

I hope to help you today regarding your trespassing issue.

To begin with, Georgia's trespassing law is found at O.C.G.A 16-7-21. The statute is found here http://law.onecle.com/georgia/16/16-7-21.html

My question to you here would be to the exact subsection you were cited under on your ticket. As you can see, the law contains three portions. These are subsections a, b an c (subsection c being inapplicable in this case).

Subsection (a) creates a trespass if you intentionally damage the property of an owner without their consent and the damage is less th $500. The key word here is intentionally. If this is the subsection you were charged under, then based on what you have told me, you would have a valid defense as you had a good faith belief that the tree was lawfully on your portion of the land.

Subsection (b) creates trespassing when you:

1) Enter onto someone's land for an unlawful purpose; OR

2) Enter onto someone's land after you had received notice from the owner that such entry was not allowed; OR

3) Remain on someone's land after they have told you to leave.

It appears if you were charged under subsection (b), you would still be able to defeat the ticket. This is because if you were charged for (b)(1) as described above, it doesn't appear that the purpose you entered his land (attaching a climbing type stand) is unlawful. If charged under (b)(2), unless you had received notice from this person not to enter his land, that charge will not stick either. Finally, for b(3), it does not look like he told you, while you were on his land, that he wanted you to leave. So this portion does not apply.

So, in answer to your question, no. I do not thing the ranger was lying to you initially because it appears that, although you believed otherwise, that tree is in the adjoining owner's land. However, since NOW you know that the tree is not on your land, you must remove the climbing stand. So while I believe you may win the current ticket you have based on the above discussion, your failure to comply with the removal request may subject you to a separate ticket, and this separate ticket will give you more problems as you now have knowledge of the owner's land delineation and notice that you are to remove the climbing stand.

I hope this answers your question. Feel free to respond back with any follow ups. If you do not have any further questions, please leave a positive feedback so I may receive credit for my response.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the ranger did not give me a ticket he explained it this away He said any tree that is used as a marker for property bounders belongs to both land owners each one controls half the tree he said the strap going around the tree was the issue he said i could use a latter type stand as long as no part of it went over half way around the tree if this is true then they should have to remove their no tress passing sighs that are nailed on my side of tree give give your option on this
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning:

In this case, the fact that the ranger said that the tree is shared between both plots may not necessarily be correct. This is especially true if the ranger did not conduct any investigation other than just speaking with the adjoining owner (which is most likely what happened because the ranger is most likely not qualified to actually determine who owns the tree).

I would highly advise getting a land survey from a licensed professional. They will come and conduct certain testing of your land and cross reference the information they obtain with the "legal address" of your property, the present and past plot information of the land, any prior legal filings regarding the land by all owners (past and present) of both lands. They will then determine the property lines.

If the survey reveals that the tree is completely on your property, you can inform the adjoining owner of this. However, I would highly advise that, if the survey reveals the the tree is fully yours, you file a lawsuit asking the Court to declare that the survey's result (where the neighbor's property ends and yours begin) be given legal recognition. This will protect you under the law. You should do this as soon as possible because, if you take no action, the Court may "estop" you from claiming the land. This is the law's way of saying "you knew about a possible legal dispute regarding the property but did nothing about it, and in fairness, we will allow the neighbor to continue asserting his rights on the land/property."

Until then, it would be wise to follow the ranger's instructions and only conduct work on the tree on your side. The above information will also apply to the no trespassing sign. If the no trespassing sign is on your side of the tree, you should request your neighbor remove it. If he does not, you can remove it yourself. However, you must remember that law enforcement members are not judges or attorneys. They do not know about the finer points of the law as members of the judiciary do. So, if they even feel that you did something wrong, they will give you a ticket.

Ultimately, I would advise that you obtain a property survey. If the tree is fully on your land, I would file a suit asking the Court to declare same. Until then, you are on thin ice. While the ranger's word may or may not be true, I would not risk rocking the boat until the above recommendations are followed.

Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Hello:

I am just following up on whether or not you have any questions based on my reply? If not, please leave feedback so I may receive credit for this response. Thanks!

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