HB 1135 Takes Out the Requirement to Have Signage
Video Transcribed: No trespassing signs are no longer required in Oklahoma. I’m Oklahoma attorney, James Wirth. We’re talking about new laws that went into effect on November 1st of 2021. Specifically, we’re dealing with House Bill 1135 regarding trespassing, and there’s been a change to the law in Oklahoma regarding trespassing.
So this is what the statute said previously: “Whoever shall willfully and maliciously enter the garden, yard, pasture or field of another after being expressly forbidden or do so without permission by the owner or lawful occupant when such property is posted.”
So, trespassing under the existing, old law, required that it either be expressly forbidden, i.e. if they were told to leave. So a lot of times, you’ll see that if you’ve got a business that’s generally open to the public, invitee comes in, maybe they’re shoplifting, something like that, they get banned. So they’ve been expressly told to leave, that applies in that circumstance.
But the other option is that they were there without permission and it was posted, and posted is defined. What it says is that “Posted means exhibiting signs to read as follows: property restricted, posted keep out, keep out, no trespassing.” And that’s why a lot of times you see those signs.
If you’ve got land or something, you might see those every 50 feet, 50 yards, a hundred yards, whatever, across there, and it’s got signs that say those things. No trespassing, keep out, private property, all of those things, because, in order to be trespassing when you don’t have permission but they have not been expressly forbidden, the law required that you have posted.
Well, what did House Bill 1135 do? It took out the requirement to have signage, to have posting. That is no longer part of the statute. So now, trespassing is if you are expressly forbidden and you go in or if you just go in without permission, even if signs are not posted. However, the law does provide a lot of exceptions to that.
Persons who have a legitimate reason for entering, who immediately upon entering seek to conduct business, registered land surveyors, let’s see, employees or contractors with a valid easement, utility employees, contractors, railroad employees. So they’ve got a lot of exceptions to that rule, but the general rule now is that even if a sign is not posted, if you don’t have permission, you cannot go on that property.
If you are expressly forbidden, that part stays the same. You can’t go on that property, and that would be more for businesses that are generally open to the public. If it’s generally open to the public, you can’t say that they’re without permission. You’re an invitee, you’re allowed in. At that point, if they say, don’t come back, you’re forbidden, then it’s trespassing.
But if it’s a private business that’s open to the public, just because they don’t have a no trespassing sign doesn’t mean that you can trespass there. You’re generally allowed to go in, you have permission, you’re an invitee, but if you’re told to leave or not come back, then at that point, it would be.
But for other ones that generally aren’t considered to be open to the public, they’re not doing business, if you have not been given permission, even if there’s not a trespassing sign, you can’t trespass unless you fall into one of these limited exceptions.
So, that’s a change to the law. If you’ve got any questions about the trespassing law, new changes to the law, the law in general in Oklahoma, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that confidentially.
You’re going to want to talk to somebody that knows the specifics of your circumstances, rather than general information from these videos. For that, you can get it scheduled with an attorney in Oklahoma at my office by going online to makelaweasy.com.