What steps can I take in defending a breaking and entering claim against meif it was to reclaim my own property?

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What steps can I take in defending a breaking and entering claim against meif it was to reclaim my own property?

My friend was drunk and refused to let me have my laptop back from his apartment, after a heated argument in the hallway. I feared he would destroy it and not return my belongings, I kicked in his door and took my things. He has since called the police and a breaking and entering charge has been filed. What should I do to help my defense in this situation?

Asked on March 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, you don't really have any legal defense--not even if you thought he'd destroy it. A threat to a person's health or life would justify breaking in on someone's home, but not the fact that he has your property. The correct response would be either calling the police for assistance or waiting to see if he does destroy your belongings, then calling the police and/or suing for damages.

Since you don't really have any defense, the best you can do is to be very concillatory and humble, offer to pay for all damages, offer to do community service, and even offer to take anger management classes if the authorities deem it appropriate. And avoid getting into *any* other trouble.


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