Can a breaking and entering charge be dismissed if your name is listed on the lease as an occupant?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a breaking and entering charge be dismissed if your name is listed on the lease as an occupant?

I was arrested and charged with breaking and entering into my ex-girlfriend’s apartment. She is currently pregnant with my child. I was invited over but we got into an argument so I left. She then locked the door. I came back to get something that I left and kicked door out of anger, not to break it but I did kick it in. The lease is in her name but I was listed as a person staying there. I hadn’t been

staying there since the break up. I had been over and spent the night a few times since our break-up but was primarily staying at home. I was wondering since my name was listed as a person staying there could the charge be dropped?

Asked on January 5, 2017 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you had been a TENANT, you would not be guilty of breaking and entering: a tenant has the legal right of possession, or to enter and use/remain in, the unit. A tenant cannot break into his/her own unit, becaue he/she has every right to be there.
But if you were simply an authorized occupant, while the landlord could not remove you (unless you gave grounds for eviction), the tenant--the person on the lease; that is, your ex-girlfriend--would have the right to not let you enter. Being listed as a person staying there gave you rights against the landlord, but not against the tenant who  is allowing you to stay there, and who could decide to *not* let you stay there.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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