Shia LaBeouf Busted 4 Criminal Trespass in a Walgreen’s – the Legalities

Posted on Nov 5, 2007 in Celebrity Justice, Courts

shialabeouf.jpgYesterday, according to the Associated Press, Transformers star Shia LaBeouf was in a Chicago Walgreen’s store, and a security guard told LaBeouf that he needed to leave because LeBeouf looked like he was drunk.  It was around 2:30 in the morning.

Shia LaBeouf refused, so the guard held him and called police.  The Chicago police arrested LaBeouf for criminal trespass. LaBeouf posted bond and was back out on the streets by 7.  Interestingly, he was not booked on any charges related to being intoxicated ….

What’s criminal trespass?  And what’s with this guard detaining someone?  Was that illegal?

Each state may define “criminal trespass” a little differently, but overall the crime involves entering, or staying, on another person’s property without their permission.  This is why lots of people put up those “no trespassing” signs on their property – they’re denying permission for anyone to enter, clearly, and in advance.

There are defenses to criminal trespass — if the property’s open to the public, then it’s not trespass, for example.  However, if you fail to leave a store after you’ve been requested to do so, then you’re back into the criminal boundaries.

Sounds like LeBeouf may have thought he could stay in the store since it’s a public area, but didn’t know that once asked to leave, he’d be subject to arrest.   It also sounds like he wasn’t drunk, because there wasn’t any arrest related to intoxication.   Maybe if LeBeouf hadn’t had a stand-off with the security guard, we’d never have heard of this incident.

As for the security guard, he was apparently within his rights.  False imprisonment is holding someone without legal justification, but here LeBeouf was being held until the police could arrive by a guard whose duties include keeping the peace and preventing crime.  If a private citizen had tried to detain LeBeouf, then false imprisonment might come into play.

Bottom line: leave the store when the guard asks you to do so.�

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