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View Diary: It keeps happening: Faceless Bank's Repo Contractor hauls all of W Va. Woman's possessions to dump (279 comments)

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  •  If you have a belief that you have authority (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, VClib, Pi Li

    to enter, it's not a crime.

    Let's say you live in an row apartment where they all look a like.  You go down a hall of 50 doors and its dark and you stop at the wrong door -- but you don't KNOW it's the wrong door.  You put your key in and (because, unknown to you, you live at the NEXT door) it doesn't work.  You get frustrated and kick the door in.  

    That is NOT criminal breaking and entering.  The person who lives there can make you pay for the damage you caused, but you likely won't be charged with a crime.

    Let's say that you realize your mistake, and -- leaving the door broken and unlocked -- you go to your door, put your key in and go inside. Someone comes to the other apartment, sees that door ajar, goes in and robs the place.  The homeowner might well sue YOU for what that robber took -- and the robber is guilty of burglary.  You, on the other hand, probably have not committed a crime.  You did something WRONG, but it's a civil wrong, not a criminal wrong.

    •  You may want to rethink that absurd notion (0+ / 0-)
      •  You are wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Pi Li

        Being intoxicated makes all the difference.  Lots of states have laws that make it so if being drunk -- rather than being mistaken or careless - is what causes you to do something wrong, THAT is a crime.  There's no "carelessness" or "mistake" here.  The implication is that, if he were sober, he would have recognized that this is not his home.  The only reason this happened is because he was drunk, NOT because of an accident, or a mistake.

        When you are drunk and do something you shouldn't, you generally can't claim that that it was an "accident" or a "mistake" or "negligence" that caused you to the wrong thing.  It was the intoxication that caused you to do the wrong thing.  Intoxication under our system of laws is considered intentional -- getting intoxicated is not an accident or negligence.  

        And look what he was charged with -- criminal trespass, and public drunkenness.  

        Here's the legal definition of criminal trespass:  

        A person is guilty of criminal trespass if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling or premises, or if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon real property which is fenced or enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders. A person commits criminal trespass who, knowing he does not have the owner’s effective consent to do so, enters or remains on property, or a portion thereof. Laws vary by state, so local laws must be consulted to determine applicable requirements. It is a defense to the crime to show that an element of the crime, such as knowingly entering or remaining without authorization, is lacking. An attempted criminal trespass requires that a defendant act with the intent to commit criminal trespass, and his conduct must constitute a substantial step toward committing the aggravated criminal trespass.
        You can't say, the reason I didn't "know" I did not have consent is that I was drunk.  If you would have known you had no consent if you were sober, that's no defense.

        On the other hand, if you have "effective permission" (like foreclosure) to enter house 1, and you make a mistake and go into house 2 THINKING it was house 1 (like you got the address wrong) that's not done knowingly.  You can be sued, but generally it's not a crime you go to jail for.  

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