I saw this image today:

4chan screencap on Facebook

For the sake of this question, let's assume it happened in the front yard of the poster's house (so on his property)

If this really did happen, would this be considered a booby trap, because the nails served no purpose other than to destroy the property of people driving over the sign?

Would this trap be illegal, even though there's no way that it would reasonably hurt another human (if you're outside, you have shoes on, protecting you from the nails).

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    Presuming that somebody outside would have shoes on, is far from reasonable. Nor would shoes of many types and manufacture be protective either.
    – user4657
    Jan 16, 2017 at 4:45
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    You cannot booby trap your property, even against trespassers (or police) and even if you feel that no reasonable person would be hurt: law.stackexchange.com/questions/3970/… and law.stackexchange.com/questions/6792/… And I would doubt very much that "story" from 4chan/Facebook; think for a minute where it came from. Jan 16, 2017 at 5:37
  • @BlueDogRanch This kind of thing happens all the time when 4chan gets involved. While it's always possible to embellish a story, this honestly seems to be truthful.
    – forest
    May 5, 2019 at 4:02
  • @user4657, presuming somebody would step on a board bristling with spikes is far from reasonable. Mar 2 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


You cannot booby trap your property, see Can I booby-trap my property against police?

You can, however, protect your property in any reasonable way that will not cause harm to innocent trespassers. So things like fences with obvious barbed wire, road spikes that would damage tires but not people etc. From the images it seems like the nature of the spikes are such that they would injure someone who stepped on or fell on them and probably cross the line into booby trap territory.

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    I take it as spikes like these vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/drivingworld-htif/images/4/4f/… are ok as they are obvious but the spikes in your picture are not. the spikes should be a deterrent not revenge after the action Jan 16, 2017 at 17:53
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    You could make an argument that the spikes in the image are okay, since the campaign signs are marking their location and make it difficult to accidentally approach them.
    – Mark
    Jan 18, 2017 at 5:47
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    "Booby trap" in law is often defined as a contraption that causes grave bodily harm or death. Something designed to burst tires would be very unlikely to be considered a booby trap in law. However, you might still risk legal trouble if someone injured themselves on them anyway...
    – forest
    May 5, 2019 at 8:40
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    Something designed to burst tires can easily cause grave bodily harm or death.
    – gnasher729
    May 5, 2019 at 12:16
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    @gnasher729 But a booby trap is often defined as being designed to do that.
    – forest
    May 5, 2019 at 22:49

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