TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew that would increase civil and criminal penalties for vandalizing agricultural or horticultural land, and trespassing advanced from the Senate today.
The bill, S-1429, would provide that reasonable attorney fees be included in the damages that could be recovered by the owner or lessee of the land in the restitution order issued by a court in both civil and criminal proceedings. The civil penalties would also be raised from $100 per offense to $1,000.
“Many farmers have suffered a loss in revenue attributed to trespassers vandalizing their property. They have to dedicate time and money to repairing their grounds, taking time away from being productive and further increasing their losses” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Increasing the civil and criminal penalties will act as a stronger deterrent and hopefully protect agricultural and horticultural land from further destruction from would be trespassers.”
The bill cleared the Senate with a vote of 39-0.