In order to successfully prosecute criminal trespass charges, property owners must provide notice to passersby that entry is not permitted on the property. With notice commonly given by “No Trespassing” signs, a recent change in state law gives property owners another option.
Now, property owners can provide notice to not enter by installing posts with purple marks or by making purple marks on trees along the property line.
Specific requirements must be followed for the notice to be sufficient under the criminal statute. If the mark is on a tree, the mark must consist of a vertical line at least 8 inches long; the bottom of the mark must be between 3 and 5 feet from the ground; and all marks must be no farther than 100 feet apart. If the mark is on a post, the mark must cover the top 2 inches of the post; the bottom of the mark must be between 3 and 5½ feet from the ground; and all marks must be no farther than 36 feet apart. (In other words, the mark should start between 3 and 5½ feet and go to the very top of the post.)
The statute further mandates that the marks “must be readily visible to any person approaching the property.” IC 35-43-2-2(d)(1).
Why the change? Lawmakers likely hope that purple paint will last longer than metal signs that can rust, fall, or be stolen. Nearly half of states have similar laws on the books, so while not a novel idea, hopefully this change will help landowners protect property rights in a more economical and convenient way.
The only question that remains: is colorblindness a defense?