Can a breaking and entering charge be dismissed if your name is listed on the lease as an occupant?

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Can a breaking and entering charge be dismissed if your name is listed on the lease as an occupant?

I was arrested and charged with breaking and entering into my ex-girlfriend’s apartment. She is currently pregnant with my child. I was invited over but we got into an argument so I left. She then locked the door. I came back to get something that I left and kicked door out of anger, not to break it but I did kick it in. The lease is in her name but I was listed as a person staying there. I hadn’t been

staying there since the break up. I had been over and spent the night a few times since our break-up but was primarily staying at home. I was wondering since my name was listed as a person staying there could the charge be dropped?

Asked on January 5, 2017 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you had been a TENANT, you would not be guilty of breaking and entering: a tenant has the legal right of possession, or to enter and use/remain in, the unit. A tenant cannot break into his/her own unit, becaue he/she has every right to be there.
But if you were simply an authorized occupant, while the landlord could not remove you (unless you gave grounds for eviction), the tenant--the person on the lease; that is, your ex-girlfriend--would have the right to not let you enter. Being listed as a person staying there gave you rights against the landlord, but not against the tenant who  is allowing you to stay there, and who could decide to *not* let you stay there.


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