Is It a Crime for a Transgendered Person to Use the “Wrong” Bathroom?

The General Assembly recently passed, and the Governor recently signed, HB 2 (S.L. 2016-3), popularly known as “the bathroom bill.” This post considers whether it is now a crime for a transgendered person to use the bathroom of the sex with which he or she identifies.

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Is Misdemeanor Trespassing and Misdemeanor Shoplifting Really a Felony?

The web has several stories about large retail stores banning people caught shoplifting from returning, sometimes for life, sometimes from all of the stores in the chain. Sometimes the incident prompting the ban goes to court, with the person convicted of shoplifting. Sometimes the store does not pursue criminal charges but rather has the person sign an agreement acknowledging that he or she is not permitted to come back. What happens if the person returns, reenters the store, and is caught shoplifting again? In some districts in North Carolina, the person is charged not with trespassing and shoplifting, both misdemeanors, but rather with felony breaking or entering under G.S. 14-54(a). I have reservations about whether the law supports this charge.

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Is It Illegal for a Man to Use the Ladies’ Room?

In Charlotte, there is a controversy over whether a transgendered person should use the bathroom assigned to his or her biological sex or to the sex with which he or she identifies. The Charlotte Observer has the story here. This post doesn’t address that issue directly, but instead concerns a related question that the story prompted me to ponder: is it illegal for a man to use the ladies’ room?

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Defending Santa: Is It a “Breaking” to Enter Through an Open Chimney?

Now that Christmas is over, Santa’s cases are coming on for trial. He’s accused of multiple counts of burglary. We already know the facts: He entered dwellings at night, using the chimney to gain entry, while the residents slept soundly in bed. The indictments charge that once inside, he stole milk and cookies. Being a … Read more

Breaking or Entering a Building

I recently blogged about some of the questions that arise in connection with breaking or entering a motor vehicle, e.g., whether one commits that offense if one reaches into the open bed of a pickup truck. I’ve also been asked several questions recently about breaking or entering a building, and specifically, about what counts as … Read more

Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle

Under G.S. 14-56, it is a Class I felony to “break[] or enter[] any . . . motor vehicle . . . containing any . . . thing of value” with the intent to commit larceny or any felony. It sounds straightforward enough, but I was recently asked whether breaking into a toolbox affixed behind … Read more