Kansas Trespassing Laws: What You Need to Know

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Kansas: Fast Facts on Trespassing

  • Trespass Law Covers: Structures, Dwellings, Land, Vehicles
  • Crime Class: Misdemeanor. Felony if trespassing upon railroad property results in damage.
  • Fencing Required?: Yes, optionally. See below.
  • Signage Required?: Yes, optionally. See below.
  • Verbal Notice Required?: No.
Kansas trespassing laws featured

Kansas Trespassing Law Overview

Kansas trespassing laws are simple, succinct and easy to understand.

The entirety of the trespassing laws are contained within two sections of Chapter 21 of the Kansas State statutes, and contain little in the way of surprises or gotchas, save for one curious mention of trespassing being applied to those who through action or omission of action block or hinder access to medical care facilities.

Kansas also has a section devoted entirely to trespassing on railroad property, but it is similarly short and sweet like the primary section on criminal trespass.

Unlike that section, trespassing on railroad property may nab you some pretty harsh penalties, so make sure you don’t mess with any such places in Kansas! Aside from that you shouldn’t need to go through the Kansas state laws more than once or twice. Let’s go!

Relevant Kansas State Statutes

  • 21-5808 Criminal Trespass
  • 32-1013 Taking Wildlife Without permission on land posted “by written permission only”
  • 21-5809 Trespassing on Railroad Property

The Kansas State statutes covering trespassing do not have a detailed section of definitions as many states laws do.

Instead, it pays only passing mention to the specific definition of healthcare provider as it pertains to a special clause in the section covering blocking access to a healthcare facility.

These definitions appear at the end of the first section 21-5808. Nonetheless, the Kansas State statutes are written about as simply as it is possible to write such laws:

21-5808. Criminal trespass.

(a) Criminal trespass is entering or remaining upon or in any:

(1) Land, nonnavigable body of water, structure, vehicle, aircraft or watercraft by a person who knows such person is not authorized or privileged to do so, and:

(A) Such person enters or remains therein in defiance of an order not to enter or to leave such premises or property personally communicated to such person by the owner thereof or other authorized person;

(B) such premises or property are posted as provided in K.S.A. 32-1013, and amendments thereto, or in any other manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, or are locked or fenced or otherwise enclosed, or shut or secured against passage or entry; or

(C) such person enters or remains therein in defiance of a restraining order issued pursuant to K.S.A. 60-3105, 60-3106, 60-3107, 60-31a05 or 60-31a06 or K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 23-2707, 38-2243, 38-2244 or 38-2255, and amendments thereto, and the restraining order has been personally served upon the person so restrained; or

(2) public or private land or structure in a manner that interferes with access to or from any health care facility by a person who knows such person is not authorized or privileged to do so and such person enters or remains thereon or therein in defiance of an order not to enter or to leave such land or structure personally communicated to such person by the owner of the health care facility or other authorized person.

(b) Criminal trespass is a class B nonperson misdemeanor. Upon a conviction of a violation of subsection (a)(1)(C), a person shall be sentenced to not less than 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment which shall be served either before or as a condition of any grant of probation or suspension, reduction of sentence or parole.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) ”Health care facility” means any licensed medical care facility, certificated health maintenance organization, licensed mental health center or mental health clinic, licensed psychiatric hospital or other facility or office where services of a health care provider are provided directly to patients; and

(2) ”health care provider” means any person:

(A) Licensed to practice a branch of the healing arts;

(B) licensed to practice psychology;

(C) licensed to practice professional or practical nursing;

(D) licensed to practice dentistry;

(E) licensed to practice optometry;

(F) licensed to practice pharmacy;

(G) registered to practice podiatry;

(H) licensed as a social worker; or

(I) registered to practice physical therapy.

(d) This section shall not apply to:

(1) A land surveyor, licensed pursuant to article 70 of chapter 74 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto, and such surveyor’s authorized agents and employees who enter upon lands, waters and other premises in the making of a survey; or

(2) railroad property as defined in K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5809, and amendments thereto, or nuclear generating facility as defined in K.S.A. 66-2302, and amendments thereto.

In Kansas, if you enter or remain upon any real property or any vehicle including but not limited to land, a non-navigable (closed) body of water, a structure which includes dwellings and residences, automobile, aircraft or watercraft knowing that you do not have authorization or privilege to do so that is trespassing so long as any of the following is also true:

The person entering or remaining upon the property is doing so in defiance of order or instruction not to enter or in defiance of order or instruction to leave that has been communicated to them by the owner or owner’s authorized agent, or if the property is secured in some way, such as a barrier like a fence or wall, locked doors and other portals or has conspicuously posted signage barring trespassing.

Alternately any person who is entering or remaining on a property in defiance of a restraining order is also trespassing so long as a restraining order has been served to them.

So long as any one of the above modifiers are present when a person chooses to enter or remain upon a property knowing if they don’t have authorization, that is trespassing in the state of Kansas.

There’s also one more specialized version of criminal trespassing that rates the same charge but it’s somewhat more specialized in application.

If any person enters or remains upon any public or private property knowing that they do not have access to be on it and bars anyone else from accessing a healthcare facility as defined at the end of this section, that is also criminal trespassing.

Any form of trespassing described in the above section is a misdemeanor.

I know there is a special type of trespassing we will learn about later, one that occurs on railroad property with damage, that rates a felony charge.

Subparagraph (a)(1 b) makes special mention of land with posted warnings found in Section 32-1013. We’ll jump over there really quick to see what markings and signage are necessary for the state of Kansas.

Though they only specifically pertain to the crime of taking wildlife without permission, they are too closely linked with trespass for any landowner to remain ignorant of their specifics:

32-1013. Taking wildlife without permission on land posted “by written permission only”; penalties.

(a) Any landowner or person in lawful possession of any land may post such land with signs stating that hunting, trapping or fishing on such land shall be by written permission only.

It is unlawful for any person to take wildlife on land which is posted as provided in this subsection, without having in the person’s possession the written permission of the owner or person in lawful possession thereof.

(b) Instead of posting land as provided in subsection (a), any landowner or person in lawful possession of any land may post such land by placing identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts around the area to be posted. Each paint mark shall be a vertical line of at least eight inches in length and the bottom of the mark shall be no less than three feet nor more than five feet high.

Such paint marks shall be readily visible to any person approaching the land. Land posted as provided in this subsection shall be considered to be posted by written permission only as provided in subsection (a).

There was more in that section pertaining to hunting and harvesting of animals, but the above represents the most important part for our discussion.

If someone has posted conspicuously around the perimeter of the property signs that state hunting, trapping or fishing on such land is only allowed by written permission of the owner only, then the person that has such permission must also have that permission in writing and in their possession while engaged in the above activities.

No exceptions! Some of you outdoorsmen and hunters would do well to remember that in the state of Kansas.

Just because you have explicit permission from your uncle or brother-in-law who has the land, if he has signage posted to that effect you must have written permission on you.

In lieu of posted signage, the typical purple markings placed at least 3 feet off the ground on trees or posts may be substituted.

Unlike some other states Kansas has no regulation stating how frequently such marks must be made or how close they must be to like marks on other trees or posts, stating only that any such marks shall be readily visible to any person approaching the land.

The last section pertaining to trespassing in Kansas is 21-5809 which covers trespassing on railroad property.

21-5809. Trespassing on railroad property. (a) Trespassing on railroad property is:

(1) Entering or remaining on railroad property, without consent of the owner or the owner’s agent, knowing that it is railroad property; or

(2) recklessly causing in any manner the derailment of a train, railroad car or rail-mounted work equipment.

(b) Trespassing on railroad property is a:

(1) Class A nonperson misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (b)(2);

(2) severity level 8, nonperson felony if such trespassing results in a demonstrable monetary loss, damage or destruction of railroad property valued at more than $1,500.

(c) Subsection (a) shall not be construed to interfere with the lawful use of a public or private crossing.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting a representative or member of a labor organization which represents or is seeking to represent the employees of the railroad, from conducting such business as provided under the railway labor act (45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.) and other federal labor laws.

(e) As used in this section “railroad property” includes, but is not limited to, any train, locomotive, railroad car, caboose, rail-mounted work equipment, rolling stock, work equipment, safety device, switch, electronic signal, microwave communication equipment, connection, railroad track, rail, bridge, trestle, right-of-way or other property that is owned, leased, operated or possessed by a railroad company.

In a subtle but important difference between the previous section covering trespassing on any other real property, merely trespassing on a railroad property as described at the end of this section knowing you do not have permission is adequate to rate criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

You need not defeat any obstacles, locked doors or ignore signage. However, if in connection with the trespassing your actions result in damage occurring that tallies $1,500 or more, you will be charges with a Level 8 felony.

For the purposes of this section “railroad property” includes every kind of railroad related structures and grounds you can possibly think of, and several that you can’t think of including but not limited to:

  • the trains themselves, including any locomotive, engine, their cars or caboose
  • stock work, equipment, or materials that roll along the rails
  • railroad safety devices at crossings
  • rail track switching
  • any railroad related communications equipment and railroad bridges, trestles and right-of-ways.

Serious business; stay out of those railroad related properties if you aren’t supposed to be there!

Conclusion

Kansas state laws on trespassing are eminently easy to understand.

If you enter or remain upon any property or within any vehicle without the explicit permission of the owner of said property or vehicle and had to defeat any security device, wall or fence to do.

So, if you ignore posted signs barring trespassing, or if you ignore the order from the lawful owner to leave or vacate the property, that is criminal trespassing.

Additionally, doing the same thing on any railroad property or railroad related equipment is also criminal trespassing with no other modifiers.

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