Trespass is defined by the act of knowingly entering another person’s property without permission. Such action is held to infringe upon a property owner’s legal right to enjoy the benefits of ownership. Criminal charges, which range from violation to felony, may be brought against someone who interferes with another person’s legal property rights. Criminal trespasses, depending on the venue of jurisdiction and case circumstances, fall under different subsets of law. When a trespass is carried out against another person, rather than against his/her property, the trespasser is likely to be charged with assault or battery. Actions violating the real property of another are handled as Trespasses to Land. Violations to personal property are handled as torts.

Under Tort Law, a property owner may bring a Civil Law suit against a trespasser in order to recover damages or receive compensatory relief for injury suffered as a direct result of a trespass. In a tort action, the plaintiff must prove that the offender had, but knowingly violated, a legal duty to respect another person’s right to property, which resulted in direct injury or loss to the plaintiff.