Could I be charged for breaking and entering even though someone living at a house gives me the information to get in and get their stuff?

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Could I be charged for breaking and entering even though someone living at a house gives me the information to get in and get their stuff?

My 22 year old girlfriend lives with her parents but wants to more out. She is out of town with them. She has asked me to go to the house to get her stuff. She gave me a list of items that are hers and the alarm codes to get in.

Asked on December 9, 2012 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

David West / West & Corvelli

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This is a difficult one to answer even for an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Your girlfriend is an adult and is certainly entitled to live where she wants.  She is also allowed to remove any of her own personal property from any residence which she moves out of.  The problem is that recent law - mostly written to help people who want to keep police out of a house after one party consents but the other did not - works against you in this situation.  As her parents are not home to consent to your entry for the purpose of removing items, you may get into trouble because it is also their home and they have a right to decide who comes and goes.  This is especially true when items are being moved from the home here, apparently without their knowledge.

If a single item that is removed is questionably still the parents or if they later claim that their daughter did not own the item or have permission to remove it then both of you could be charged with theft.  This is especially dangerous where it sounds like you are going into the house alone to remove items and you may accidentally take the wrong thing.

This situation seems very dangerous to an experienced criminal defense lawyer and I would advise strongly against it.  Certainly, if she is going to move out don't do it without here there the whole time and possibly another eyewitness.  You run a very strong risk of the parents returning home, being angry, and calling police.  And even though you may not think you did anything wrong, they may convince police you did in which case you will go to jail and the police will let the courts sort it out.

When in doubt, talk to experienced criminal defense lawyers like those at David West & Associates before doing anything you think may get you in trouble with the law.  We can help keep you out of jail.

Good Luck

David S. West

Senior Attorney

David West & Associates

www.westdefense.com

 

David West / David West & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This is a difficult one to answer even for an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Your girlfriend is an adult and is certainly entitled to live where she wants.  She is also allowed to remove any of her own personal property from any residence which she moves out of.  The problem is that recent law - mostly written to help people who want to keep police out of a house after one party consents but the other did not - works against you in this situation.  As her parents are not home to consent to your entry for the purpose of removing items, you may get into trouble because it is also their home and they have a right to decide who comes and goes.  This is especially true when items are being moved from the home here, apparently without their knowledge.

If a single item that is removed is questionably still the parents or if they later claim that their daughter did not own the item or have permission to remove it then both of you could be charged with theft.  This is especially dangerous where it sounds like you are going into the house alone to remove items and you may accidentally take the wrong thing.

This situation seems very dangerous to an experienced criminal defense lawyer and I would advise strongly against it.  Certainly, if she is going to move out don't do it without here there the whole time and possibly another eyewitness.  You run a very strong risk of the parents returning home, being angry, and calling police.  And even though you may not think you did anything wrong, they may convince police you did in which case you will go to jail and the police will let the courts sort it out.

When in doubt, talk to experienced criminal defense lawyers like those at David West & Associates before doing anything you think may get you in trouble with the law.  We can help keep you out of jail.

Good Luck

David S. West

Senior Attorney

David West & Associates

www.westdefense.com

 


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