People often make serious mistakes when going home at the end of a long day of work. These mistakes are also likely to occur if a person has had a few drinks before coming home. In this situation, entering the wrong apartment may seem like a minor deal. However, the person living there may be trying to get you charged with burglary. Will this charge stick?
Entering An Open Door May Count As Burglary
People often make the mistake of thinking that simply walking into an already open apartment cannot constitute burglary. That's because they misunderstand the definition of breaking and entering set down by these types of laws. Any kind of unlawful entry, even walking into a door that is open or unlocked, can constitute burglary.
So, walking into the wrong apartment at the end of the night may constitute burglary if the person who did it was attempting to or interesting in pursuing a crime. In most cases, somebody who wandered into the wrong apartment was unlikely to be attempting anything wrong. However, the plaintiff may argue that you were attempting a crime, such as stealing their belongings.
This situation is very frustrating because it may seem like you have very little way of defending yourself. After all, it is your word against theirs and you made the mistake of walking into the wrong apartment. Understandably, the owner freaked out and called the police and identified you as the person who entered their home. As a result, they want to pursue a case against you. Thankfully, it is possible to defend yourself.
Defense Can Be A Challenge In These Cases
Arguing that you were innocent of this crime is probably the best way of defeating this charge. For example, the plaintiff has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you entered their home and attempted to commit a crime. Unfortunately, if there is evidence of you leaving the house, such as camera footage or eye witnesses, this defense is not recommended because you cannot state that you never entered the house.
Other types of defenses for this type of situation involve admitting you did walk into the house but claiming that you were not attempting to rob their home. For example, if they state that you simply walked out of the house after being seen, there is a good chance that you can pounce on this point and show the jury that you were not attempting burglary.
Yes, you walked into their home against their will, but you were simply confused. You can use evidence, such as a confusing apartment building layout or your own drunkenness at the time of the incident, to show the jury that you were just making an honest mistake.
If you are in a situation like this and need help, don't hesitate to contact a professional burglary lawyer right away. These attorneys can help you understand the laws surrounding these cases and find a way to protect you from serious legal issues. For more information, contact a company like Cheryl Brown Attorney at Law.