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Trespassing on private property is a common issue that many Hawaii residents and visitors face. If you’re not sure about trespassing laws and want to avoid any legal troubles, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Trespassing is illegal in Hawaii. You can be charged with trespassing for entering private property without permission, including hotels, stores, beaches, and undeveloped land.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about trespassing laws and penalties in Hawaii.

You’ll learn the legal definition of trespassing, differences between criminal and civil trespassing, posted notice requirements, penalties for conviction, and key exemptions to trespassing laws.

What is Considered Trespassing in Hawaii?

No trepassing sign

Trespassing laws are in place to protect the rights of property owners and ensure the safety and security of individuals and their belongings.

In Hawaii, trespassing is defined as the act of intentionally entering or remaining on someone else’s property without permission.

It is important to understand the legal implications of trespassing in Hawaii to avoid any potential legal consequences.

Legal Definition

According to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 708-814, a person commits the offense of trespass if they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully on property after being given notice against entering or remaining on the property.

Notice can be given through verbal or written communication, or through the presence of signs indicating that entry is prohibited.

It is important to note that trespassing laws in Hawaii apply not only to private property but also to public property, such as government buildings, parks, and beaches.

Even though these spaces are accessible to the public, certain areas may be restricted or off-limits, and entering without permission can still be considered trespassing.

Criminal vs. Civil Trespassing

In Hawaii, trespassing can be classified as either criminal or civil, depending on the circumstances and intent of the individual.

Criminal trespassing occurs when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully on another person’s property and can result in criminal charges and potential imprisonment.

Civil trespassing, on the other hand, typically involves a violation of property rights or damage caused by the trespasser. In these cases, the property owner may choose to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for any harm or damage caused.

It is important to consult with a legal professional to fully understand the implications of trespassing laws in Hawaii and to ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a property owner or visitor.

Posted Notice Requirements in Hawaii

Understanding the Importance of Posted Notice Requirements

When it comes to trespassing laws in Hawaii, understanding the posted notice requirements is crucial. These requirements serve as a way to inform individuals that they are entering private property and are not authorized to be there.

By clearly posting notices, property owners can protect their rights and ensure that trespassers are aware of the consequences they may face.

It is important for both property owners and individuals to be familiar with these requirements in order to avoid any legal issues or misunderstandings.

What Constitutes a Valid Posted Notice?

In Hawaii, a valid posted notice must meet certain requirements to be considered legally effective.The notice must be prominently displayed in a location where it can be easily seen by anyone approaching the property.

It must contain specific information, including the name and contact information of the owner or person in charge of the property.

Additionally, the notice must clearly state that entry onto the property without permission is prohibited and may result in legal action.

Types of Posted Notices

Hawaii law provides property owners with different options when it comes to posting notices. The most common type of notice is a sign that includes the required information in a visible and legible manner.

This sign should be posted at the entrance of the property or at intervals along the boundaries to ensure that it is easily noticed by anyone approaching.

Property owners can also use other methods such as verbal warnings or written notices delivered directly to individuals who are trespassing.

Consequences of Ignoring Posted Notices

Trespassing on private property in Hawaii can have serious consequences, especially if a valid posted notice has been ignored. Individuals who ignore these notices may face legal action, including fines and potential criminal charges.

It is important to understand that ignorance of the law or the absence of a physical barrier, such as a fence or gate, does not excuse trespassing.

Property owners have the right to protect their land, and by adhering to the posted notice requirements, they can effectively communicate their expectations to others.

Remember, if you are unsure about the posted notice requirements or have any questions regarding trespassing laws in Hawaii, it is always best to consult with a legal professional who can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information.


– Hawaii State Legislature:

Penalties for Trespassing Conviction in Hawaii

Criminal Trespassing

In Hawaii, criminal trespassing is considered a serious offense and is governed by Chapter 708 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. If you are found guilty of criminal trespassing, you may face various penalties depending on the circumstances of the offense.

Potential Penalties:

  • Fines: The court may impose fines ranging from $500 to $2,000 for a criminal trespass conviction.
  • Imprisonment: In addition to fines, you may also be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of up to one year.
  • Restitution: If you caused damage to the property you trespassed on, the court may order you to pay restitution to the property owner to cover the cost of repairs or replacement.
  • Probation: In some cases, the court may impose probation as part of your sentence. This may require you to comply with certain conditions, such as attending counseling or staying away from the property you trespassed on.

It is important to note that the specific penalties for criminal trespassing can vary depending on factors such as prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and whether any aggravating factors were present.

Civil Trespassing

In addition to criminal trespassing, Hawaii also recognizes civil trespassing. Civil trespassing occurs when someone unlawfully enters or remains on another person’s property without permission, but without the intent to commit a crime.

Differences from Criminal Trespassing:

  Criminal Trespassing Civil Trespassing
Intent to Commit a Crime Present Absent
Penalties Fines, imprisonment, restitution, probation Compensatory damages, injunctive relief

Unlike criminal trespassing, civil trespassing is not considered a crime and does not carry the same criminal penalties. Instead, the property owner may pursue compensatory damages, which can include the cost of repairing any damage caused by the trespasser, as well as any other losses suffered as a result of the trespass.

If you find yourself facing criminal or civil trespassing charges in Hawaii, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights.

For more information about trespassing laws in Hawaii, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii State Legislature at

Exemptions to Trespassing Laws in Hawaii

While trespassing is generally illegal in Hawaii, there are certain exemptions to the law that allow individuals to access certain areas without facing legal consequences.

Understanding these exemptions can help you navigate the state’s trespassing laws more effectively.

Public Beaches

In Hawaii, the public has the right to access and enjoy the state’s beaches. According to the Public Trust Doctrine, beaches are considered public property, and as such, individuals are allowed to visit them for recreational purposes.

This means that as long as you are engaging in activities such as swimming, sunbathing, or picnicking, you are within your rights and not trespassing.

It’s important to note, however, that certain restrictions may apply. For example, if a beach is privately owned or located within a private resort, access may be limited to guests or members only.

Additionally, it is crucial to respect any posted signs or regulations regarding beach usage, as violating these rules can result in legal consequences.

Emergency Situations

In emergency situations, trespassing laws may be temporarily suspended to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals.

For example, if there is a natural disaster or a medical emergency, emergency responders may need to access private property without permission in order to provide assistance.

Similarly, if there is a fire or other life-threatening situation, individuals may be allowed to enter private property to seek safety.

It’s important to remember that these exemptions are only applicable in emergency situations and should not be abused. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s always best to contact the appropriate authorities and seek their guidance before taking any action.

For more information on trespassing laws in Hawaii, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii State Legislature at

This website provides detailed information on the state’s laws and regulations, ensuring that you are well-informed and able to navigate the legal landscape responsibly.

Also read: Is Honolulu Dangerous? An In-Depth Look At Crime And Safety In Hawaii’S Capital 


We hope this guide has helped answer your key questions around trespassing laws in Hawaii. The bottom line is that you should always respect private property and stay off any land that is fenced, gated, or marked with no trespassing signs.

While public beaches are open to all, other private lands should only be accessed with explicit permission from the owner. If you have any other questions about trespassing, it’s best to consult with a local Hawaii attorney.

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