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HB 536 - Civil and Criminal Trespass

HB 536 - Civil and Criminal Trespass

Phil Haunschild
February 14, 2018

Bill description: HB 536 would consolidate and reform Idaho’s civil and criminal trespass statutes.

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

Idaho currently has convoluted trespass statutes that are burdensome to property-owners and confusing to residents in understanding the penalties for trespass.

HB 536 would shift the onus of distinguishing private property from the property-owner to the visitor. Current law requires that the property-owner has “‘No Trespassing” signs or other notices of like meaning, spaced at intervals of not less than one (1) notice per six hundred sixty (660) feet along such real property.” This requirement of the property-owner would be struck for both criminal and civil trespass under this legislation and, in its place, an owner could signify that the land is privately owned in a myriad of ways. Per HB 536, the possible ways to show this include, but are not limited to:

“1. Property that is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner that a reasonable person would recognize as delineating a private property boundary;

  1. Cultivated land;
  2. Property that is posted with signs prohibiting trespass or clearly displays bright orange or fluorescent paint at all property corners, fishing streams crossing property lines, roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the land or in a manner that would reasonably be expected to be seen by a person in the area; or
  3. Property that is reasonably associated with a residence or place of business.”

By removing the requirement that property-owners bear the responsibility of posting notice across their entire property, HB 536 would further guarantee the right to private property.


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