5

I saw this image today:

4chan post on Facebook [![4chan post][2]][2]

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).

  • 2
    Presuming that somebody outside would have shoes on, is far from reasonable. Nor would shoes of many types and manufacture be protective either. – Nij Jan 16 '17 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. – BlueDogRanch Jan 16 '17 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 at 4:02
4

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.

  • So if these were the spikes you see on roads (with signs saying "wrong way") that'd be OK? – Jon Jan 16 '17 at 6:59
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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 – Topher Brink Jan 16 '17 at 17:53
  • 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 '17 at 5:47
  • "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 at 8:40
  • Something designed to burst tires can easily cause grave bodily harm or death. – gnasher729 May 5 at 12:16
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The nailed board was not hidden. It was in plain sight to a pedestrian, and thus not a hazard to an innocent passerby. And it was on private property. I’m guessing it might hold up in court.

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