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A post painted purple is another way of saying "No Trespassing" in Texas. Photo courtesy of Anita Lehky

Have you ever seen a purple post on the edge of someone's property and wondered what it means? For the curious minded, it isn't a fashion statement or a Prince tribute. It's a warning to keep out.

There are eleven states that currently adopt this practice and Texas is one of them, under Section 30.05 of the Texas Penal Code. The Purple Paint Law is intended as a deterrent against trespassers, signifying that unlawful property entry means criminal trespass.

As it turns out, many Texans are unfamiliar with this law, originally enacted in 1997. The paint is used as an alternative to posted signs that could be stolen or eroded.

Before you go out spray-painting trees and poles, however, there some requirements to make it an effective equivalent to a "No Trespassing" sign in Texas.

The markings must be visible to those approaching the property, and are required to be painted vertically, with a minimum length of eight inches with a width of one inch.

The marks should also be a minimum three to five feet from the ground, and spaced no more than one hundred feet apart in timberland, or one thousand feet apart on open land.

There's even a special can of spray paint that is used to mark "No Trespassing" areas, complete with its own color shade: "No Hunting Purple."

There have been several misleading articles posted on the subject of Purple Paint Law, the most common subject being that if you see a purple post, you should leave the area immediately, as your life may be in danger.

Painting a post purple does not authorize a landowner to use lethal force, but potential trespassers should keep in mind that if caught being in an area where one shouldn't be, they are still subject to criminal or civil penalties.

Be considerate to your rural neighbors. If you see purple, choose another path to explore.

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