When a person faces charges of unlawful entry in Washington DC, they often tell their attorney that they didn’t enter unlawfully. In fact, they may feel that they were a paying customer in an establishment. While this may be true, there is much more to charges of unlawful entry than most people understand.
One of the first things a person should know is that Washington DC doesn’t have a “trespassing” crime. Instead, a crime that involves someone being on another person’s property without permission is referred to as “unlawful entry” and they are charged under the Unlawful Entry statute.
When and How does this Crime Occur?
One of the most common ways that this charge occurs is in a place of business if a person refuses to leave when they are asked to. Nine out of ten times, this occurs in a club or bar and the person who is being or has been charged has been over-served.
According to the Unlawful Entry statute in DC, it is illegal for a person who is otherwise legally in a building to stay on the property after they are asked to leave. This means if you are at a bar and the bouncer or bartender asks you to leave, then you may be considered guilty of Unlawful Entry if you refuse.
In most cases, it doesn’t matter why you are being asked to leave the premises or if you believe it is fair. Most people don’t view a bar as being a private building, but if it is not owned by the government, then it is private. Also, if you are visiting a friend’s house, the invitation may be revoked any time during the visit.
The Common Factor
In the majority of unlawful entry cases, alcohol is a contributing factor. It also isn’t uncommon to see an assault charge along with this. Why? Because if you make the decision that you want to stay somewhere, then the bouncers are typically going to get involved. This makes a bad situation even worse.
If you are facing charges of Unlawful Entry, then you should hire a Washington DC criminal defense lawyer right away to review the facts of your situation. One defense they may be able to use is the “claim of right”. This means that if you believe that you had the right to remain where you were and you were asked to leave, then you may not be found guilty of the crime. For example, if a bouncer is trying to force you to leave and you believe that you don’t have to go until you have told your friends the situation, gotten your coat or paid your bill, then you may be able to build a legitimate and effective defense.
If you are facing a case of unlawful entry, then it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney. To learn more, contact the professional team of attorneys from The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC by calling 877-620-3644 today. They can review your case and help protect your rights.