Trespass Offences in South Australia

In South Australia, trespass offences are set out in the Summary Offences Act 1953. This page deals with trespass offences in South Australia.

Trespassing on premises

Under section 17A of the Summary Offences Act 1953, a person commits an offence if they:

  • Trespass on premises
  • The trespass interferes with the occupier’s enjoyment of the premises
  • The person is asked to leave by an authorised person.

Penalty for trespassing on premises

The maximum penalty for trespassing on premises is as follows.

  • If the premises are primary production premises, a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for six months;
  • Otherwise, a fine of $2,500 of imprisonment for six months.

Other offences related to trespass

Under section 17A, a person also commits an offence if they:

  • Use offensive language or behave in an offensive manner while trespassing;
  • Fails to give their name and address to an authorised person who asks for it while they are trespassing.

Either of these offences can attract a fine of up to $1,250.

Trespassing at private parties

Under section 17AB, a person commits an offence if they trespass on premises that are being used for a private party and fail to leave when asked to do so.  This offence is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months.

It is also an offence to do any of the following while trespassing at a private party:

  • Uses offensive language or behaves in an offensive manner;
  • Fails to give their name and address to an authorised person who asks for it;

Either of these offences can attract a fine of up to $2,500.


Trespass offences are summary offences and are dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Penalty for trespass

A person who is found guilty of trespass may be sentenced to a fine, a good behaviour bond, a community service order or a term of imprisonment.

Will I get a conviction?

Under section 24 of the Sentencing Act 2017, a court may find a person guilty of an offence without recording a conviction if:

  • They are unlikely to commit such an offence again;
  • Because of the character, age or physical or mental condition of the person;
  • The offence was trifling;
  • Any other extenuating circumstances exist.

However, if a court imposes a term of imprisonment, it must record a conviction.

Defences to trespass

A person who is charged with trespass may have a legal defence available to them. Defences to trespass offences include the following.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they enter private property without permission because of an emergency situation – such as taking shelter from a bushfire.


A person is not guilty of trespass if they enter a property mistakenly believe that it is public property or mistakenly believing that it is their own property.

Lawful excuse

A person is not guilty of an offence if they enter property for a lawful purpose, such as delivering mail.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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