Missouri's Purple Paint Statute - AgEBB
Missouri's Purple Paint Statute: A New Way To Protect Your Property From
By Deanne Hackman
November 8, 1995
Research Associate and Adjunct Instructor
Social Science Unit, College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
University of Missouri - Columbia
CAUTION: Do not rely upon this information for legal advice. See an
attorney for legal counseling tailored to your specific situation and
During its 1993 legislative session, the Missouri legislature enacted
a new statute pertaining to trespassing. The new law, the Purple Paint
Statute (RSMO 569.145), provides yet another way for Missouri landowners to
protect their property from trespassers. Landowners can still use "No
Trespassing" signs, however the Purple Paint Statute allows landowners to
mark trees or posts with purple paint as a warning to would-be trespassers.
Just like a "No Trespassing" sign or actual communication to individuals
that no trespassing is allowed, the purple paint marks are considered to be
adequate notice to the public that no trespassing is allowed on the
Missouri's law is similar to one that has been used in Arkansas since
1989. These statutes were enacted to provide landowners with an economical
and easy way to keep out unwanted trespassers. The law does not require
that property marked with the purple paint also be fenced, thus it is an
economical alternative for landowners who do not otherwise need to fence
their property. Additionally, it prevents a problem encountered when using
"No Trespassing" signs -- purple paint marks can't be taken down,
destroyed, or stolen!
Because the Purple Paint Statute is new, many people across the state
are not yet aware that the statute exists. Regardless, the statute imputes
notice to would-be trespassers. All land marked with purple paint in the
manner proscribed by the statute is considered to be adequate notice to the
public. It fulfills the same function as a "No Trespassing" sign, a fence,
or telling someone not to come onto your property.
Under Missouri's law:
The statute provides that any person trespassing onto property marked
by purple paint can be found guilty of a first-degree trespassing charge.
Any unauthorized entry onto property marked with the purple paint marks is
considered a trespass. First-degree trespassing is a Class B Misdemeanor,
with potential punishment of a maximum $500 fine and/or a maximum of 6
months in jail.
- Any owner or lessee of real property can post property with the purple
- Purple paint marks must be placed on either trees or posts (the
statute does not specifically allow the option of placing paint
marks on buildings).
- Vertical paint lines must be at least 8 inches long (the statute
does not mention a maximum length).
- The bottom edge of each paint mark must be between 3 feet and 5
feet off the ground.
- Paint marks must be readily visible to any person approaching the
- Purple paint marks cannot be more than 100 ft. apart.
Other violations which would subject a trespasser to first-degree
trespass are: (1) entering a property posted with "No Trespassing" signs;
(2) refusing to leave property once told to do so; and (3) coming onto land
fenced against intruders.
Landowners can purchase the purple boundary posting paint at hardware
stores across the state. Several paint companies have formulated a latex
semi-paste product for the specific purpose of marking property. The paint
can be applied in its semi-paste form or sprayed once thinned.