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AB 2355 - Trespass: Denial of Access

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California AB 2355 - Trespass: Denial of Access becomes law effective January 1, 1999; An act to add Section 420.1 to the Penal Code, relating to trespass


(1) Existing law prohibits the unlawful obstruction of access to public lands, and also provides for the granting of easements, covenants, licenses, and profits by which a person, subject to the law of real property and contractual agreement, can record an interest, including the right to enter, use, cross, or inspect, in the real property of another.

This provisions of the bill prohibit the willful and knowing obstruction of access to property where the entering party possesses a legal right to so enter based on a duly-recorded real property interest, as specified. The provisions of the bill do not apply to persons who are engaged in lawful labor union activities or activities that are otherwise constitutionally protected. The provisions of the bill punish violations as infractions punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

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Section 420.1 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

420.1 Anyone who wilfully and knowingly prevents, hinders, or obstructs any person from entering, passing over, or leaving land in which that person enjoys, either personally or as an agent, guest, licensee, successor-in-interest, or contractor, a right to enter, use, cross, or inspect the property pursuant to an easement, covenant, license, profit, or other interest in the land, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), provided that the interest to be exercised has been duly recorded with the county recorder's office. This section shall not apply to the following persons:

(1) any person engaged in lawful labor union activities that are permitted to be carried out by state or federal law; or (2) any person who is engaging in activities protected by the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.


It is conceivable that this could be applied to "gating" and "burming" of roads on public lands, or charging a toll to pass over public lands, that would obstruct free access to private "inholdings" - such as homes, lands, mining claims, grazing interests and water rights.  It could also apply to obstruction of passage for cattle drives over traditional historic trails that pass over private lands.

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