Understanding Trespassing Laws in Myrtle Beach (and How to Avoid Trespass Charges Yourself)

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Marleny Hucks
Marleny Huckshttp://MyrtleBeachSC.com
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

The love for exploration is human nature. So, there are times you may want to discover what’s on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately, crossing to the other side of the fence could mean being at risk of facing trespassing charges. 

Typically, trespassing refers to the entry of another person’s or entity’s property without authorization. In all states, trespassing is a crime that is punishable by fines and jail time. 

This guide focuses on trespassing laws in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and how you can avoid charges.

What Exactly Is Criminal Trespassing in Myrtle Beach

In South Carolina, Myrtle Beach included, a person cannot be charged with trespassing unless they have been served a notice of trespass. This means entering another person’s property when you do not have notice of trespass may not amount to trespass. 

However, if you enter and the owner asks you to leave but fails to heed the warning, the defendant has a right to call the police on you for trespassing. The only exception is if you have a legal right to be there, for example, when a law enforcement officer is executing their constitutionally mandated duties. 

Under South Carolina law, trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or up to 30 days in jail for first-time offenders. For repeat offenders, the penalties can be much higher. If you are facing trespass charges in North Carolina, working with an experienced trespass lawyer is vital to minimize your chances of a conviction.

Situations That May Give Rise to Trespass Charges on Private Property

Under South Carolina law, entering another person’s property after receiving a written or verbal notice against trespassing is a crime. If the part of the property where the trespass has occurred is pasture land, posting signs prohibiting trespass in the area is sufficient to warrant an arrest of someone that gets into the property. 

If the defendant’s motive for entering another’s property is to gather resources such as fruit, flowers, game, or fish, they will be guilty of trespassing even when it is their first time on the property.

Growing marijuana on private land is not uncommon in South Carolina, especially in large tracts of inhabited land. If you face a trespassing charge under such circumstances, you could be looking at fines of up to $5,000 and jail time not exceeding five years.

Another situation that can give rise to a trespass charge in South Carolina is entering a gated compound between 6 pm to 6 am while there is a visible sign warning against trespassing

What a Conviction Means

First-time offenders rarely get anything more than a fine after a conviction for trespassing. While it may sound like a slap in the wrist for many people, it can have far-reaching consequences on a person’s life because the conviction can remain on a criminal record for up to 10 years. 

South Carolina law allows employers to reject job seekers based on their criminal history, even for minor crimes such as trespassing on your record. They can also terminate an existing employee if a background check reveals they have a criminal history. 

How to Avoid Trespassing Charges

The best way to ensure you avoid trespassing is to stay off privately owned property if you do not have the owner’s consent. There could be situations where you could trespass accidentally. Under such circumstances, getting off another person’s property would be best as soon as you realize you are trespassing. 

If you happen to stumble upon the property owner and they ask you to leave, it’s best to leave. If, after verbal communication from the property owner or their representative, you still stay at the property, the property owner has a right to call the police on you. 

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