Is it illegal to physically remove a trespasser from your property?

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Is it illegal to physically remove a trespasser from your property?

Recently I had the mother of my fiance’s children come into my home when she was picking up her children, and threaten me. I opened my door and told her 3 times to leave my home and she refused. She threatened to punch me after every time. Finally, my fiancee grabbed her by the shirt and forced her out the door. Now she is threatening to press charges on him. Can she press charges? Or were we within our legal rights to remove her at that point since she was trespassing?

Asked on January 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the thing:  there are a few different issues here and a bunch of things going on.  You have to look at it in the totality but how a judge would view it may be otherwise.  She was not really trespassing.  You invited her in.  What happened next was that she became unreasonable but she never became violent, correct?  If she would not leave your solution would have been to call the police.  Using force against her would have been warranted to protect yourself, if your fiance was protecting you, the kids, himself.  And you could only use necessary force: if she picked up a pillow he could not respond with a gun.  Could she press charges?  Possibly.  How will they view it?  Quite possibly a domestic dispute.  I wuld get an attorney on board just in case.  And have her pick up the kids elsewhere and without you around next time. Good luck. 


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