Bill Text: NJ A4846 | 2016-2017 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires restitution and increases penalties for vandalism and trespass on agricultural or horticultural lands.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 5-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-06-29 - Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee [A4846 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2016-A4846-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4846

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 18, 2017

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  ERIC HOUGHTALING

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblyman  ADAM J. TALIAFERRO

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  BOB ANDRZEJCZAK

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires restitution and increases penalties for vandalism and trespass on agricultural or horticultural lands.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning vandalism and trespass on agricultural and horticultural lands and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-5) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    It is an offense under [this act] P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-4 et seq.)  to:

     a.     Knowingly or recklessly operate a motorized vehicle or to ride horseback  upon the lands of another without obtaining and in possession of the written permission of the owner, occupant, [or] , lessee, or licensee thereof.

     b.    Knowingly or recklessly damage or injure any tangible property, including, but not limited to, any fence, building, feedstocks, crops, live trees, or any domestic animals, located on the lands of another.

(cf:  P.L.1983, c.522, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 3 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-6) is amended to read as follows:

     a.     An offense pursuant to section 2 of [this act] P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-5) is a crime of the third degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss of [$2,000.00] $2,000 or more;  a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss [in excess] of [$500.00] more than $500 but less  than [$2,000.00] $2,000;  and a disorderly persons offense if [he] the actor causes pecuniary loss  of [$500.00] $500 or less.

     b.    The provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary notwithstanding, in addition to any other sentence which the court may impose pursuant to subsection c. of this section or any other provision of law, a person convicted of an offense under [this act] P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-4 et seq.) shall be sentenced to make restitution, and to pay  a fine of not less than [$500.00] $500 if the offense is a crime of the third degree; to pay a fine of not less than [$200.00] $200 if the offense is a crime of the fourth  degree;  and to pay a fine of not less than [$100.00] $100 when the conviction is of a  disorderly persons offense.

     c.     A person who is convicted of an offense pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-5), in addition to any other fine, penalty, or restitution which may be imposed by law, is liable to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee of the lands or of the tangible property for any reasonable and necessary expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee to ensure that the lands or the tangible property are restored to their condition prior to commission of the offense.  In the sentencing proceedings concerning the offense, the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee may submit evidence of expenses incurred and damages sustained.  The court shall make a finding of the amount of expenses incurred and damages sustained.  If the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support such a finding, the court may conduct a hearing upon the issue.  The court shall order the person convicted of the offense to make restitution to the owner, occupant, or lessee in the amount of the expenses and damages found by the court.  The court shall file a copy of the order with the clerk of the Superior Court who shall enter upon the record of docketed judgments the name of the convicted person as judgment debtor, and the name of the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee as judgment creditor. The clerk shall also file a statement that the restitution is ordered pursuant to this subsection, the amount of the restitution, and the date of the order.  This entry shall have the same force as a judgment docketed in the Superior Court.

(cf:  P.L.1983, c.522, s.3)

 

     3.    R.S.4:17-2 is amended to read as follows:

     4:17-2.  a.  [Any] In addition to any applicable penalties that may be assessed pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1983, c.522 (C.2C:18-6) or any other law, any person who trespasses upon the agricultural or horticultural lands of another is liable to a penalty of not less than [$100.00] $1,000 , to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under ["the penalty enforcement law" (N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.)] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).  The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce ["the penalty enforcement law."] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999."  If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues constitutes an additional, separate and distinct offense.

     b.    A person who is convicted of an offense pursuant to this article, in addition to any other fine, penalty, or restitution which may be imposed by law, is liable to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee of the lands for any reasonable and necessary expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee to ensure that the lands are restored to their condition prior to commission of the offense.  In the sentencing proceedings concerning the offense, the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee may submit evidence of expenses incurred and damages sustained from the trespass.  The court shall make a finding of the amount of expenses incurred and damages sustained, and if the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support such a finding, the court may conduct a hearing upon the issue.  The court shall order the person convicted of the offense to make restitution to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee in the amount of the expenses and damages found by the court.  The court shall file a copy of the order with the clerk of the court who shall enter upon its record of docketed judgments the name of the convicted person as judgment debtor, and of the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee as judgment creditor, a statement that the restitution is ordered pursuant to this subsection, the amount of the restitution, and the date of the order.  This entry shall have the same force as a judgment docketed in the court.

     c.     Nothing in this article shall relieve owners of agricultural or horticultural lands from the obligation to provide conspicuous posting prohibiting trespass on the waters or banks along or around any waters listed for stocking with fish in the current fish code adopted pursuant to section 32 of P.L.1948, c. 448 (C.13:1B-30) before a trespass violation may be found.

     d.    As used in this [act] article, "agricultural or horticultural lands" means lands devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, encompassing plowed or tilled fields, standing crops or their residues, cranberry bogs and appurtenant dams, dikes, canals, ditches and pump houses, including impoundments, man-made reservoirs and the adjacent shorelines thereto, orchards, nurseries and lands with a maintained fence for the purpose of restraining domestic livestock. "Agricultural or horticultural lands" shall also include lands in agricultural use, as defined in section 3 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-13) where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by actual communication to the actor, conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders. [Nothing in this act shall relieve owners of agricultural or horticultural lands from the obligation to provide conspicuous posting prohibiting trespass on the waters or banks along or around any waters listed for stocking with fish in the current fish code adopted pursuant to section 32 of P.L.1948, c. 448 (C.13:1B-30) before a trespass violation may be found]

(cf:  P.L.1991, c.91, s.172) 

 

     4.    R.S.4:17-3 is amended to read as follows:

     4:17-3.  A person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article may be arrested without warrant by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee, or an officer of the law and taken for trial before [a court mentioned in section 4:17-2 of this Title] the appropriate court pursuant to R.S.4:17-2.

(cf:  P.L.1953, c.5, s.42)

 

     5.    R.S.4:17-4 is amended to read as follows:

     4:17-4.  In a prosecution for violation of the provisions of this article, the failure of the defendant to produce a written permit to enter upon the lands upon which [he] the defendant is charged with trespassing, signed by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee thereof, shall be prima facie proof that [he] the defendant was forbidden [so to trespass by such] by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee to enter upon the lands of the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee.

(cf:  R.S.4:17-4)

 

     6.    R.S.4:17-5 is amended to read as follows:

     4:17-5.  Upon the failure of a person convicted of violating the provisions of this article to pay a fine as imposed [as provided in] pursuant to this article, the court [before whom the conviction is had] convicting the person may commit such person to the county jail until the fine is paid.

(cf:  P.L.1953, c.5, s. 43)

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would clarify the restitution and penalty provisions established in law for vandals and trespassers on agricultural or horticultural lands and increase certain penalties.  Concerning damage to, and trespass on, such lands, the bill provides that:

     1) A person convicted of an offense is liable to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee of the lands or the tangible property for any reasonable and necessary expense, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee for restoration of the lands or the tangible property;

     2) The owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee can submit evidence of expenses incurred and damages sustained to the court;

     3) The court is required to make a finding of the amount of expenses incurred and damages sustained, and if the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support such a finding, the court can conduct a hearing to determine the amount of expenses;

     4) The court is required to order the person convicted of the offense to make restitution to the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee in the amount of the expenses and damages found by the court, and file a copy of the order with the clerk of the court; and

     5) The clerk is required to enter upon the record of docketed judgments the name of the convicted person as judgment debtor, and the name of the owner, occupant, lessee, or licensee as judgment creditor, as well as a statement that restitution has been ordered, the amount of the restitution, and the date of the order.

     The bill provides that the clerk's entry has the same force as a judgment docketed in the court.

     The bill also gives jurisdiction to the municipal court, in addition to the Superior Court, for collection of penalties pursuant to R.S.4:17-2 for trespass on agricultural or horticultural lands, and increases the minimum penalty from $100 to $1,000.

     The offenses established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1983, c.522 are:

     1) Knowingly or recklessly operating a motorized vehicle or to ride horseback upon the lands of another without obtaining and in possession of the written permission of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof; and

     2) Knowingly or recklessly damaging or injuring any tangible property, including, but not limited to, any fence, building, feedstocks, crops, live trees, or any domestic animals, located on the lands of another.

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