EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Following several inquiries regarding landowner rights when unwanted or uninvited individuals enter property, the 20th Judicial District Attorney and the Sheriffs in East and West Feliciana Parishes have issues a combined statement clarifying trespassing laws and warning against trespassing.
"Trespassers are going onto privately owned creek beds and driving their vehicles and ATVs all over the place, creating all kinds of problems," said West Feliciana's Sheriff J. Austin Daniel. "In addition to tearing up the property physically, they are also leaving behind a significant amount of trash and it has to stop. These properties are privately owned and folks need to understand that. If you don't have permission to be on that property, don't go," Daniel continued.
According to the statement released on Monday, "The Louisiana Legislature addresses this issue in 'LSA R.S. 14:63 Trespassing' and our local Police Juries of East and West Feliciana Parish enacted ordinances, 'Parish Ordinance 10-5 Trespassing' in East Feliciana and 'Parish Ordinance 12-3 Trespassing' in West Feliciana Parish."
"All three statutes prohibit a person to enter, be on or use any land, structure, watercraft, or movable belonging to another without the consent of the owner, lessee, or other person lawfully in charge of the land, structure, watercraft, or movable," the statement continued
The statement also notes there are exceptions to trespassing laws, such as law enforcement performing duties, firefighters or paramedics responding to an emergency, delivery persons, etc.
District Attorney Samuel D'Aquilla said he will be looking to prosecute trespassers to the fullest extent of the law.
State penalties allow fines from $300-$500 and up to 30 days of imprisonment for the first offense, with increased fines or jail time for subsequent offenses. Trespassing penalties vary by parish, however according to D'Aquilla, parish penalties allow fines of no more than $500 or 90 days imprisonment upon first offense and no more than $500 fines or six months imprisonment for following offenses.
Authorities urge anyone with knowledge of trespassing to contact the appropriate local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. In East Feliciana Parish, call the Sheriff's Office at (225) 683-5459. In West Feliciana Parish, call the Sheriff's Office at (225) 784-3136. You may also contact the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office at (225) 634-2545 in East Feliciana and at (225) 635-4612 in West Feliciana.