Letter of Authority - Trespassing Frequently Asked Questions


What is a "criminal" trespass?

A criminal trespass is considered a misdemeanor offense according to the California Penal Code 602. In simple terms, it refers to the deliberate and unauthorized entry onto someone else's property with the intention to trespass. It is important to note that the individual must intend to trespass to be cited or arrested. Penal Code 602 serves as the primary statute governing trespass to real property. This statute provides comprehensive details on various crimes related to damaging, destroying, or removing specific property types, including timber, fixtures, soil, stone, signs, gates, or fences.


Does the criminal trespass law apply when there is labor picketing or a political protest?

No, the criminal trespass law does not apply in cases involving peaceful labor picketing or political protests, as these activities are legally protected.


What is the purpose of the Letter of Authority - Trespassing? How does it help with the problem of unwanted people on my property?

The letter authorizes police officers to issue a citation, effect an arrest, or warn any person present on the property without lawful business during the specified 364-day period. The letter gives officers the power to enforce trespassing laws at the property when you are not there. Generally, without other corresponding criminal activity at the time of contact, the Letter of Authority will be enforced by citation, not by physical arrest of the offending party.


Why is the Letter of Authority only valid for 364 days?

California Penal Code Section 602(o) only allows a property owner to file a trespassing arrest authorization letter for a period not to exceed 12 months. The letter can be renewed yearly, as summarized in the following response. 

How do I renew the Trespass Authorization Letter? Will I receive a reminder when it's time to renew the authorization?

You can renew the letter through the Lodi Police Department's website every year. The Lodi Police Department will not send a notification that a Letter is nearing expiration or has expired.

Failure to renew the letter will result in the authorization lapsing, rendering it invalid.

Who is responsible for posting a sign on the property?

The property owner or his/her representative is responsible for posting the property. It is recommended, although not required, that you document the posting by taking time-stamped pictures of the signs you posted. 

 The signs must be posted at conspicuous entry points or regular intervals and known points or trails of entry for unfenced properties.  

Detailed sign specifications and appropriate wording can be accessed through the Letter of Authority section on the Lodi Police Department's webpage. Alternatively, refer to the Lodi Municipal Code - LMC § 9.08.080 for further signage information.

Why is including all my additional contacts on the Letter of Authority important?

The officer must be able to contact you when detaining the trespassing party to verify the occurrence of trespassing. Failure to reach you at the time of the trespass, which can happen at any hour, may result in the non-issuance of a citation, depending on the type of property involved. In the case of residential properties, the officer may request your presence at the scene of the trespass to issue a citation.

What can I do if someone continually causes problems at my property?

The Trespass Authorization Letter is not intended for use against a specific party; instead, its purpose is to be enforced against any and all individuals who trespass. This letter serves as a professional means of addressing unauthorized entry onto a property. 

Where do I submit my Letter of Authority?

Submit your Letter of Authority Here → Letter of Authority - Trespassing

I still have questions. Who should I contact?

If you have further questions or experience issues with the online submission form, please email Sgt Eric Shaw.