What is my defense against breaking and entering? 42 Answers as of June 24, 2013

If you are living with your boyfriend in his house, and he locks you out of the house, can you be charged for breaking and entering even though you still live there?

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Harrison & Harrison
Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
Probably not. The problem is that your boyfriend may have told the police a very different story.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/28/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
In NY there is no such charge as breaking and entering. There is Burglary ( roughly equivalent to Breaking and entering in other states). If you are living there as an owner or as atenant on the lease then most likely you can not be charged. But if it is your boyfriend's house and you are living tere but are not a tenant on the lease then most likely you can be charged. If you do get charged you should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/7/2011
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
If you have a right to be in the home, you cannot break and enter your home.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/28/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Possibly it is a close question if it he owns the home and you are only living with him. It may also depend on exactly why you want to force your way in. If you need your personal property I would call the police and have them there when you try to get it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/4/2011
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
Lawyers do not create defenses for clients. It sounds like you are claiming that you were unlawfully evicted and that your entry was not unlawful. There aren't enough facts to say whether it is a good or bad defense.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/4/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    I would not break in to test whether you could be arrested or not. Hire an attorney and file an action for the recovery of your property and get a court order to get your belongings.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/3/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    We do not have breaking and entering law in Illinois, however, we do have burglary and criminal trespass to a residence. If you live there, and can prove this to the police if arrested, by ID card or mail posted to that address in your name, I doubt the police would bother to charge you with either of these offenses. For burglary to stick, the breaking must be with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, which is not your intention.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/29/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    If you actually live in the home.. Probably not. However, you do not say whether or not there are any no contact orders in effect. If so, then yes. I do not know what the facts are.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/29/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The fact that you are residing in the dwelling would give you a valid defense to a burglary. Burglary is the "unauthorized" entry into a dwelling with the intent to commit a theft or other felony while inside.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    It depends if you are on the lease or in title to the property, which if either is true you cannot be charged with breaking into your own home. If neither is true, but you can prove you are living there, you should be able to beat the case - the burden will be on you to prove you live there.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    No.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Keyser Law Firm
    Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
    If you can establish that you had a right to be in the dwelling then yes, this is a defense to burglary. You may not have your name on the lease or mortgage but if you can establish proof that you had been living there for some period, and therefore it was reasonable for you to enter the premises, you should not be charged with burglary. Proof of occupation can include such things as your belongings being inside, bills arriving at the residence under your name, payments toward utilities, etc. In any event, if you are charged with burglary I recommend contacting a defense attorney for assistance. Even if you believe the case is silly, a burglary charge is not easily dismissed in most circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The requirements for breaking and entering are that you 1 have to enter the house and 2 that before entering you have to have the intent to commit a crime within. If you are entering your living space and do not want to trash it or steal his stuff then you have a good defense against breaking and entering.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    That you were a renter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/24/2013
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Burglary require no authority to enter and entry to commit a crime inside.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You can be charged with Criminal Mischief for damaging the door or window, but if you live in a house you are not committing a crime to enter under most circumstances. Even if you are not the owner or on the lease if you live there you have certain rights and the police cannot ask you to leave, but you may have a problem if he changes the locks and you actually break in using force. If your boyfriend does not want you living there it may be dangerous to continue to be around him, especially if he is violent or abusive. Perhaps it is time to find another boyfriend.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You certainly may be charged but you may have a defense or at least an explanation. It is very important if anyone was present when, and if, you broke in. You need to prepare evidence that shows you were residing at that home at the time of the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If you have been lawfully residing full time in the home, you cannot be locked out in any legal manner. However, breaking in may constitute an unlawful damage to property. Your remedy is in court.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    If he is the only owner or tenant and he has asked you to leave, then yes you can be charged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    I would say the answer is no "if" you can show you were living there. Breaking and entering requires a breaking of an entrance and entering without the consent of the lawful occupant. If you are a lawful occupant you don't need consent to enter.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    Maybe. If you are not on the lease then he can claim that he did not want you there and you would have no legal right to be there. However, as a defense, if you can show that it was your legal residence even if you were not listed on the lease, then you can have a good chance of beating the charge.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    No. You are a tenant with rights and cannot be locked out or charged in my opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You can be charged but I think it won't stick.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/24/2013
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    No. Not if you have a legal right to be there. Ultimately, that determination can only be made with more information. You should take advantage of a free case evaluation offered by just about all criminal defense lawyers and discuss the specific details involved as you may have a valid defense to the charges. I hope this answer was helpful and good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You would have a defense if you had some sort of legal right to be there, such as your name on a lease or mortgage papers. You could also try to prove constructive residence if you had a key, had your belongings there, or had stayed there with permission for some time and did not have that permission revoked. However, if he is the owner and you had no legal right to be there, and he told you to leave or stay out, your argument is more problematic.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Breaking and Entering requires you to break and enter a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony. In order to be charged the prosecution would have to prove that you intended to commit some sort of felony once you got inside. However, since it is his house he does have the right to say who is welcome there. You could possibly get charged with a lesser offense of trespassing unless you want to try and claim that you had been there long enough that it was your legal residence and he was then required to evict you in order to remove you. In any event, seek the advise of legal counsel before pleading to anything or agreeing to anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If he owns the house or if a rental, if you are not on the lease, you could theoretically be charged. However, I doubt if a DA would prosecute if he knows the whole story. If this guy beat you up you can get him charged with spousal (you don't need to be married - just be girlfriend) abuse and they will throw his dumb ass out of his own house and let you live there (but if rented of course you will haveto pay the rent). If he owns the place you do not pay the mortgage and if he doesn't it will ultimately be foreclosed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Depends on his story. You need to hire an attorney to protect your side of the story because that is a very serious charge.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/19/2013
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Breaking and entering is not a charge. Criminal Trespass requires proof that you entered or remained in a building unlawfully. Burglary requires proof that you entered or remained unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Malicious Mischief requires proof that you damaged the property of another person. If you had a lawful right to be in the building there is no crime. However, if you damaged property of another person, including the landlord, you could be charged with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The charge might be malicious mischief if you damaged anything. If you committed a crime against persons or property once you were inside, you could possibly be charged with Residential Burglary. However, if you live there and can prove it with a lease or mail, you shouldn't be charged with burglary, although you could be criminally charged for any damage you did.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    Anyone can be charged for anything, however you should not be charged under those circumstances because you lived there. Try to round up proof that you lived there such as mail or utility bill.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp.
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp. | Todd Landgren
    Simply put, No! You have a right to 30 days notice to vacate. You can't legally be thrown out of your own house, you have the right to go back in That is a perfect defense and charges should not be filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Yes, and no. Do you still have permission to be there? Are you both on a lease? Much more information will be needed before anyone on here can give you a proper answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Technically, if you have permission to enter, it is not breaking and entering.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/19/2013
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    If you live in the house you have the right to enter you need to establish residency to defend against the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    You can't be charged with burglary of your house, but if you don't own the house, and are not on the lease, possibly but more likely only criminal mischief for damage, or criminal trespassing.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Should not be able to if you still live there. How long were you out before you tried to go back in, an hour or two, or was it several weeks. There are circumstances where they could claim that you no longer live there.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You can be charged with anything. Proving it is another matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Burdon and Merlitti
    Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
    Yes you can be charged, but the chances of a conviction are small. If you live in a house, even if the title/lease is in your boyfriend's name, you have a right to access to the property and access your property in the house. If he locks you out of your house, then you have a right to gain access. My suggestion is that if you are going to try to gain access after being locked out, you should contact the police and warn them that they might be getting a call to the home.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/28/2011
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