Can charges be dismissed if you charged with entering a property owned by a specific personbut that person does not own the property?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can charges be dismissed if you charged with entering a property owned by a specific personbut that person does not own the property?

I know of someone that is being charged with knowingly entering a property owned by a specific person to commit theft. The charges state that this specific person owns the property when in fact this person does not own the property and never has. From what I understand this is grounds for dismissal of the charges because the charges are incorrect. If the property has never been in this specific persons possession and the party who did own the property is deceased can new charges be filed?

Asked on November 18, 2010 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Don't confuse the civil and criminal systems. In the civil system--lawsuits--only the correct party in interest can sue. So if Bob, for example, does not actually own the property stolen or trespassed upon, he can't sue for damages for it, and any suit he did bring would be dismissed. However, in a criminal prosecution, the case is brought by the state for violating laws. If the property did not belong to the person who trespassed upon or stole (or attempted to steal) from it, he can be prosecuted, notwithstanding that the initial identification of the owner of the property was incorrect. The charge is still  fundamentally valid: the person trespassed on property which wasn't his, entering it without permission for the purpose of commiting the crime of theft. The identify of the owner only matters if it can be shown that either the actual owner granted permission for what the alleged criminal did, or the alleged criminal had a reasonable and good faith belief that he had permission from the actual owner for what he did. Then, if it can be shown that the real owner did grant the permission or that it was reasonable for the alleged criminal to think he had permission (e.g. the real owner was his uncle, who regularly allowed the alleged criminal to borrow his belongings), that might provide a defense to the charges.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption