Unlawful entry is when a person enters the private property of another person without their consent or permission. This can result in criminal charges, and is an aspect of many other charges, such as trespassing or burglary. Breaking and entering may be an aspect of unlawful entry, but not always. For instance, the perpetrator might gain unlawful access to the property through the use of deceit (such as using a false ID).
In many cases, the property owner is allowed to use force to prevent the unlawful entry, or to remove the person from their premises. However, the use of deadly force to do so is not allowed unless they are also threatened with deadly force.
Unlawful entry typically results in consequences similar to those for trespass. These can include criminal fines, citations, and also civil fines as well (especially for damaged property). Consequences can become more serious if other factors are involved. These can raise the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the circumstances. Such factors include:
- Possession of a firearm during the unlawful entry
- Serious damage to the property
- Illegal removal of property while on the premises, or commission of a felony (the charges may then be converted to burglary)
- Committing the unlawful entry with another person or persons (can increase the penalties)
There may also be other legal issues associated with unlawful entry.
- Unlawful entry by police (i.e., lack of a search warrant)
- Unlawful entry by repossession companies
- Unlawful entry in an employment setting (for instance, gaining access to certain areas of a business without consent)
These types of situations can involve different laws and consequences. For instance, unlawful entry by the police can affect the outcome of a criminal case. Any evidence they seize while on the premises illegally can be barred from use during trial. Thus, unlawful entry can be both a violation in itself as well as a factor that affects many other aspects of a claim or trial.
Unlawful entry can often involve a complex mix of different legal issues. You may need to hire a criminal defense lawyer in your area if you need any legal assistance with unlawful entry issues. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and research for your claim or for your loved one’s case. If you need to appear in court, your lawyer can provide you with representation during important court meetings.