Idaho Trespassing Laws: What You Need to Know

Idaho: Fast Facts on Trespassing

  • Trespass Law Covers: Land, Structures, Dwellings, Vehicles
  • Crime Class: Misdemeanor. Felony for repeated offenses.
  • Fencing Required?: No, if land has signage.
  • Signage Required?: No, if property is fenced.
  • Verbal Notice Required?: No, but verbal notice is adequate for informing a person that they are trespassing.
flag of Idaho

Idaho Trespassing Law Overview

Idaho is a state with predominantly reasonable and standard trespassing laws.

Trespassing is a misdemeanor in the state, with the notable exception of repeated offenses of more serious trespassing violations which can wind up escalating the penalty schedule to a felony. So serial trespassers, you have been warned!

Idaho state statutes mandate fencing around properties that border public lands if there is no signage posted, and vice versa: if there is no fencing signage must be posted.

No signage or fencing is required if a person should reasonably be expected to believe that a structure or other dwelling is associated with a residence or business.

Just about the only notable thing in the Idaho state statutes is how the vast majority of their trespass law and penalties are crammed into a single, lengthy section which makes it a little hard to parse on the first reading.

Relevant Idaho State Statutes

  • Section 18-7006 Trespass of Privacy
  • Section 18-7008 Criminal Trespass Definitions and Constituting
  • Section 18-7015 Trespass on Inclosure for Fur-bearing Animals
  • Section 18-7034 Unlawful Entry

As with all laws, the place to begin is in the definitions. Without reading the definitions, you might miss crucial nuance and context that can change the meaning of entire passages of a statute unbeknownst to you.

Unfortunately in this case the state of Idaho has seen fit to cram their definitions and the majority of their criminal trespass laws into one, gigantic section, 18-7008.

This factor combined with the sheer length of this section makes writing an easy-to-follow, cohesive brief of Idaho state trespassing statutes a bit challenging. So, against my typical style and in the interest of clarity, I will be breaking it up into chunks for easy comprehension and commentary.

As always, the next sections will be called out with their own heading. The remainders are, mercifully, short and cover more specialized kinds of trespassing.

Without any more ado, let’s get moving!

Section 18-7008 – CRIMINAL TRESPASS — DEFINITIONS AND ACTS CONSTITUTING

(a) “Crops” means field crops including, but not limited to, grains, feed crops, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

(b) “Cultivated land” means:

(i) Land whose soil is loosened or broken up for the raising of crops;

(ii) Land used for the raising of crops; or

(iii) Pasturage that is artificially irrigated.

(d) “Enter” or “enters” means going upon or over real property either in person or by causing any object, substance or force to go upon or over real property.

(e) “Navigable streams” shall have the meaning set forth in section 36-1601, Idaho Code.

(f) “Permission” means written authorization from the owner or his agent to enter upon private land, which shall include the signature of the owner or his agent, the name of the person being given permission, the appropriate dates that the permission is valid and a general description of the property; or another form of permission or invitation recognized by law.

(g) “Remains” means to fail to depart from the real property of another immediately when notified to do so by the owner or his agent.

(2) Acts constituting criminal trespass.

(a) A person commits criminal trespass and is guilty of a misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (3)(a)(i) of this section, when he enters or remains on the real property of another without permission, knowing or with reason to know that his presence is not permitted. A person has reason to know his presence is not permitted when, except under a landlord-tenant relationship, he fails to depart immediately from the real property of another after being notified by the owner or his agent to do so, or he returns without permission or invitation within one (1) year, unless a longer period of time is designated by the owner or his agent. In addition, a person has reason to know that his presence is not permitted on real property that meets any of the following descriptions:

(i) The property is reasonably associated with a residence or place of business;

(ii) The property is cultivated;

(iii) The property is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner that a reasonable person would recognize as delineating a private property boundary. Provided, however, if the property adjoins or is contained within public lands, the fence line adjacent to public land is posted with conspicuous “no trespassing” signs or bright orange or fluorescent paint at the corners of the fence adjoining public land and at all navigable streams, roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the private land from the public land, and is posted in a manner that a reasonable person would be put on notice that it is private land; or

(iv) The property is unfenced and uncultivated but is posted with conspicuous “no trespassing” signs or bright orange or fluorescent paint at all property corners and boundaries where the property intersects navigable streams, roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the land, and is posted in a manner that a reasonable person would be put on notice that it is private land.

(b) Every person who commits a criminal trespass as provided by this section and who causes damage to real or personal property in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) while trespassing is guilty of criminal trespass with damage and is guilty of a misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (3)(b)(iii) of this section.


Okay, that is a fair bit to unpack and we aren’t even halfway through this section of the statutes yet. In short, in Idaho you are trespassing on any property that you do not have explicit permission to be on, either in writing or verbally from the owner or an authorized agent of the owner.

Additionally, it is assumed that a person has reason to know that they are not permitted on any property:

  • if it appears to be part of a residence or a business,
  • it is cultivated according to the definition at the beginning of this section,
  • it is fenced or otherwise enclosed by some obstacle that a reasonable person would expect to delineate a property boundary,
  • or if it is unfenced and otherwise undeveloped land with conspicuous no trespassing signs or bright orange fluorescent paint at regular intervals, intersections and boundaries of the type typically used to indicate unauthorized persons may not trespass.

Okay, so far so good. The penalty for doing so according to the statute above and also causes damage in excess of $1,000 is guilty of criminal trespass with damage, a misdemeanor.

More of this statute after the break.


(3) Penalties.

(a) Penalties for criminal trespass.

(i) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(a) of this section for the first time:

1. If no damage of any kind was committed during the trespass and the person accused does not remain if ordered to depart by the owner of the real property or his agent, then the person shall be guilty of an infraction and fined in the amount of three hundred dollars ($300); or

2. Except as provided in subparagraph (i)1. of this paragraph, the person may be sentenced to jail for a period of no more than six (6) months and shall be fined in an amount no less than five hundred dollars ($500) and no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(ii) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(a) of this section for a second time within five (5) years:

1. May be sentenced to jail for a period of no more than six (6) months;

2. Shall be fined in an amount no less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) and no more than three thousand dollars ($3,000); and

3. If the trespass can be reasonably construed to have been committed in a manner described in section 36-1603(a), Idaho Code, shall have any license issued pursuant to chapter 3, title 36, Idaho Code, suspended for a period of one (1) year.

(iii) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(a) of this section, who previously has been found guilty of or has pled guilty to two (2) or more violations of the provisions of subsection (2) of this section within ten (10) years, notwithstanding the form of the judgments or withheld judgments:

1. May be sentenced to jail for a period no more than one (1) year;

2. Shall be fined an amount no less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000); and

3. If the trespass can be reasonably construed to have been committed in a manner described in section 36-1603(a), Idaho Code, shall have any license issued pursuant to chapter 3, title 36, Idaho Code, suspended for a period of no more than five (5) years.

(b) Penalties for criminal trespass with damage.

(i) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(b) of this section for the first time:

1. May be sentenced to jail for a period of no more than six (6) months; and

2. Shall be fined in an amount no less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) and no more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).

(ii) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(b) of this section for a second time within five (5) years:

1. May be sentenced to jail for a period of no more than six (6) months;

2. Shall be fined in an amount no less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000); and

3. If the trespass can be reasonably construed to have been committed in a manner described in section 36-1603(a), Idaho Code, shall have any license issued pursuant to chapter 3, title 36, Idaho Code, suspended for a period of one (1) year.

(iii) Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of subsection (2)(b) of this section, who previously has been found guilty of or has pled guilty to two (2) or more violations of the provisions of subsection (2) of this section within ten (10) years, notwithstanding the form of the judgments or withheld judgments, is guilty of a felony and:

1. Shall be sentenced to the custody of the state board of correction for a period of no less than one (1) year and no more than five (5) years;

2. Shall be fined in an amount no less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) and no more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000); and

3. If the trespass can be reasonably construed to have been committed in a manner described in section 36-1603(a), Idaho Code, shall have any license issued pursuant to chapter 3, title 36, Idaho Code, suspended for a period of no less than five (5) years.


For all of its length, Idaho prescribes a fairly simple penalty schedule for trespassing. The more you trespass, the worse it gets, with fees ranging anywhere from $300 to a whopping $50,000 and lengthy stays in jail on top of it.

A person who repeatedly trespasses severely may have the penalty schedule upgraded to a felony. Someone who trespasses with no damage and no other criminal intent will get a slap on the wrist and a $300 fine

That’s it for that giant section, thankfully. The next few cover special circumstances and types of trespassing and are thankfully much shorter:

Section 18-7006 – TRESPASS OF PRIVACY

18-7006. TRESPASS OF PRIVACY. It shall be unlawful for any person, upon the private property of another, to intentionally look, peer or peek in the door, window, or other transparent opening of any inhabited building or other structure located thereon, without visible or lawful purpose. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.


This is Idaho’s version of a Peeping Tom law. Sneaking around with the purposes of peeping, looking, peering or snooping into someone else’s property through a window or door is a misdemeanor.

The next section covers trespassing on an enclosure for fur-bearing animals. That is oddly specific! Let’s see what it has to say:

Section 18-7015 – TRESPASS ON INCLOSURE FOR FUR-BEARING ANIMALS

18-7015. TRESPASS ON INCLOSURE FOR FUR-BEARING ANIMALS. When the owner of any inclosure wherein foxes or other fur-bearing animals are held in captivity, shall erect a fence or other barrier around the same and within the boundaries of the premises under the exclusive dominion and control of such owner, and shall post warning signs in conspicuous places along such fence or barrier prohibiting trespass on the clear space between such fence or barrier and the inclosure aforesaid, it shall be unlawful for any person, without the permission of such owner, to cross such fence or barrier or trespass upon such clear space.

Any person violating the provisions hereof shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.


This is a highly situational statute, one that essentially means even if you otherwise have permission to be on someone’s property, and they have enclosures for the keeping of animals that bear fur, and have those enclosures cordoned off by a fence, you must have special permission to go past the fence or you’re still trespassing, which in this case, like most of the others, is a misdemeanor. How weird…

Okay last one. This statute covers unlawful entry, which is basically a catch-all for trespassing that includes vehicles among other structures and also codifies fleeing into such structures while being pursued by the police as a felony all its own.

Section 18-7034 – UNLAWFUL ENTRY

18-7034. UNLAWFUL ENTRY. (1) Every person, except under landlord-tenant relationship, who enters any dwelling house, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, closed vehicle, closed trailer, airplane, railroad car or outbuilding, without the consent of the owner of such property or his agent or any person in lawful possession thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) Any person who enters any permanent or temporary dwelling without the consent of the owner of such property or his agent or any person in lawful possession thereof while being pursued by a peace officer is guilty of a felony. For purposes of this subsection “pursued” means “fresh pursuit” as defined in section 19-705, Idaho Code.


Conclusion

Idaho’s trespassing laws fall broadly in line with most of the country, with the only oddity being a few specific passages about trespassing into the enclosure of fur bearing animals and a catch-all statute which makes trespassing into a structure or vehicle while being pursued by police a felony and a separate category of crime.

Aside from that, the vast majority of trespasses in Idaho are misdemeanors, but repeat offenders, or those who cause significant damage or commit other crimes while trespassing, may get tagged with a felony.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.