Does Santa Need A Defense Attorney?
If you have a child that’s young enough to believe in Santa Clause, but old enough to have a rudimentary grasp of the idea that creeping through somebody else’s home in the dark isn’t just wrong, but is actually illegal, you may find yourself trying to answer some tough questions. Relax. You can reassure your kids that Santa won’t be doing hard time related to any midnight excursions into someone’s living room on Christmas Eve. Read more to learn why.
It’s Not Breaking And Entering If He Was Invited In.
If someone erects a Christmas tree, decorates it with lights, hangs up his or her stockings on the fireplace mantle, and puts out a plate of cookies with a note for Santa, he or she can hardly be expected to then claim that Santa was an unwelcome intruder in his or her home.
Breaking and entering is a very specific crime, and while it varies in definition from state to state, the crime generally consists of 3 elements:
- unauthorized entry
- a clearly defined, enclosed property (not necessarily a house)
- some element of deceit or force (not necessarily actual breaking)
All three of these elements have to be in place before Santa would be guilty of breaking and entering.
Since hanging stockings and leaving cookies are considered traditional methods of welcoming Santa into a home, doing so gives the old elf more than enough implied consent in order for him to lawfully enter a home. (Santa also has implied consent to eat any cookies left on a plate near the tree, with or without a note, for the same reason.)
Additionally, since Santa uses elfin magic to go through chimneys and keyholes (neither of which are designed to accommodate a man of his girth), the actions he takes to gain entrance to the homes where he brings gifts can’t be considered either forceful or deceitful.
At Worst, It Would Be Trespassing.
If Santa did accidentally enter a home that wasn’t expecting (or wanting) his visit, he still wouldn’t be guilty of breaking and entering, because he still wouldn’t have used force to obtain entry.
At most, Santa could be charged with criminal trespass, but even that’s questionable. As long as Santa made an abrupt exit from the property as soon as he was made aware that he was in the wrong home, it could easily be argued that his brief intrusion didn’t substantially interfere with the homeowner’s use of his or her property.
A good criminal defense attorney would have the charges dropped before the prosecuting attorney found the lump of coal in his desk.
So, tell your children to relax. Santa’s safe. The Grinch, on the other hand…well, he’d better get a lawyer such as someone from the Law Firm Of Douglas Bare.