New trespassing law takes effect July 1st

Posted at 7:57 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-30 03:17:50-04

July 1st not only marks the start of a new month but also the start of a new set of laws in Idaho. 

One of the most contentious, the trespassing law. New regulation updates Idaho’s current code, altering private property posting requirements and strengthening penalties for those caught on private land.

Up until July, landowners have been required to post “no trespassing” signs at 660-foot intervals. New law states, however, these landowners just have to mark their land such that a “reasonable person” would recognize it as private property.

Supporters of the law believe it will clarify Idaho’s vague trespassing laws, cracking down on repeat offenders. 

Idaho Farm Bureau’s Russ Hendricks says, "There are varying definitions of even what trespassing is across different code sections… they want people who are going to ask permission and are going to be respectful of their property when they're there.”

The proposed legislation will add a three strike clause to people who are convicted of trespassing within a ten year period; with the third strike being a felony.

Opponents of the law believe it was hastily passed and that it just goes too far. Travis Long is one of those opponents.

"Some landowners own hundreds of thousands of acres, and if you go across somebody's land now, you can be prosecuted... They're gonna make criminals out of people that don't intentionally trespass,” says Long.

In order to not make criminals out of those innocent people, officials say there is technology out there, making it easier to navigate public and private land, so educating yourself before you head outdoors is very important.