Missouri Criminal Trespass Laws

If you illegally enter someone's property or stay there without their permission, you've committed the offense of trespass. By committing this offense, you can face civil liability as well as criminal charges.

Notice Requirements in Missouri

Property owners must give would-be trespassers notice that they can't come onto the property. In Missouri, an owner meets the notice requirements by installing a fence, telling the person that they can't enter the property, posting a "No Trespassing" sign, or by marking property with purple paint in a way that is described in the statute.

Overview of Missouri Criminal Trespass Laws

Because of the way that statutes are written, it can be difficult to read them in their entirety and understand exactly what they convey. For the most accurate analysis, it's best to work with an attorney for complex cases. However, if you just need simple clarification or need an introduction to the law before meeting with the attorney, refer to a plain English guide to the statutes. See the chart below for a simple overview of Missouri's criminal trespass laws.

Statutes

Missouri Revised Statutes:

  • Section 569.140 (First Degree Trespass)
  • Section 569.150 (Second Degree Trespass)
  • Section 569.145 (Posting of Property Against Trespassers)

Purple Paint Statute

 

 

Missouri recognizes land marked with purple paint as a form of notice to trespassers that they can't come onto the property.

  • Any real property owner or lessee can mark the property with purple paint;
  • Purple paint marks are placed on trees or posts;
  • Vertical paint lines must be at least 8 inches long; the bottom edge of each mark must be between 3 ft. and 5 ft. off the ground;
  • Marks must readily visible to any person who approaches the property;
  • Purple paint marks can't be more than 100 ft. apart.

Trespass Offenses

Trespass in the first degree: Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a $500 fine.

  • Knowingly enters property unlawfully or knowingly refusing to leave after being told to leave;
  • Enters onto property that is marked with purple paint marks as described by the law;
  • Enters property with posted "No Trespassing" signs;
  • Enters property that is fenced against intruders.

Trespass in the second degree: An infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $200.

  • Enters property of another unlawfully.
  • An offense of absolute liability (liability without fault) which means that the property doesn't have to be fenced or marked.

Related Offense

Missouri Revised Statutes:

  • Section 569.155 (Trespass of a School Bus)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Missouri Criminal Trespass Laws: Related Resources

Discuss Criminal Trespass Laws with a Missouri Attorney

If you're accused of violating criminal trespass laws in Missouri, then you're not dealing with major crimes. However, trespassing is often associated with other more serious crimes involving domestic violence or vandalism. In that case, you really should talk to an attorney because you could face serious penalties like fines or incarceration. In any case, you want to make sure you understand the charges against you, so consider talking to a criminal defense attorney in your area.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.