Crimes Related to Homes
We sometimes say that a person’s house is her “castle”. This idea goes a long way back: in 1604, an English short decision said that “the house of everyone is to his as his castle […] as well as for his defense against injury and violence, as for his repose”.
Even today, Canada’s Criminal Code makes it a crime to intrude into someone else’s home.
Contrary to widespread belief, you do not need to pick a lock or break a window to be accused of breaking and entering. Also, the protection given to homes extends to many other private places: stores, garages, sheds, trains, boats, enclosures, etc.
In this article, Éducaloi explains the crimes related to homes: breaking and entering, and “being unlawfully in a dwelling house”.
What is breaking and entering?
This means to a break with the intention of committing a crime or entering into a crime. The mere fact that a person breaks and enters into a judgment, even if there is no other evidence, that the person did so with the intention of committing a crime.
The term site not only includes a house, drank aussi a building other than a house, a train, a boat, etc.
The term breaking aussi: has a broad meaning. Breaking a window is a type of breaking. Simply opening an unlocked door (or even using a key) is also a type of breaking. Just entering a place through an opening, with a legitimate reason, can be considered to be breaking and entering, even if the opening was not forced or broken.
Where is it done, or by making threats or using tricks.
Finally, under the law, a person enters a place as soon as a part of his body or a part of his tools (for example, a tool used to pick a lock) is inside the place.
Here is an example: Marilyn and Joe broke up. Joe goes to the house of Marilyn’s new boyfriend to see his kids. Marilyn refuses to let him in, so Joe smashes the door, enters and threatens Marilyn. Joe is breaking and entering.
If the place in question is a home, the maximum punishment for breaking and entering is life imprisonment. For other places, for example, it is 10 years in prison.
If the person accused of this crime was someone in the house, or if there was a threat of violence, the judge could consider it as an aggravating factor. An aggravating factor means that the judge can use this factor to give a harsher punishment.
What is “being unlawfully in a dwelling house”?
This means entering a home, or being in a home without a reason, with the intention of committing a crime there.
This crime is very similar to breaking and entering, but it has not been possible to break the word “breaking” into the house.
Here is an example: Kebir’s girlfriend tells him that Rami harassed her. Kebir goes over to Rami’s place to teach him a lesson. He knocks and Rami opens the door. Kebir throws himself on Rami and punches and threatens him. When Kebir finally leaves, Rami calls the police.
The maximum sentence for this crime is 10 years in prison.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.