forcible entry (and detainer) – entry upon real property peaceably in the possession of another, against his will, without authority of law, by actual force or threat of potentially employing force

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help >>>> Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws >>>> Trespass:


forcible entry:

1. The act or an instance of violently and unlawfully taking possession of lands and tenements against the will of those in lawful possession.

2. The act of entering land in another’s possession by the use of force against another or by breaking into the premises. [1]

1. An entry by breaking doors to make an arrest or a search of premises. 5 Am J2d Arr §§ 86, 87

An entry with at least some degree of actual force, for the purpose of committing a felony. 13 Am J2d Burgl §§ 11, 12.

An entry on real property peaceably in the possession of another, against his will, without authority of law, by actual force, or with such an array of force and apparent intent to employ it for the purpose of overcoming resistance, that the occupant, in yielding and permitting possession to be taken from him, must be regarded as acting from a well-founded apprehension that resistance by him would be perilous or unavailing. 35 Am J2d Forc E & D § 1[2]

1. An entry into a house or other structure with at least some force.
     See breaking; breaking and entering; burglary.

2. An entry on real property which is in the possession of another person, without her consent and by actual force or threats by force, causing her to surrender possession of the property. 
     Compare trespass. [3]

forcible entry and detainer:

1. The act of violently taking and keeping possession of lands and tenements without legal authority. [1]

1. A common-law offense against the public peace committed by violently taking or keeping possession of lands and tenements, with menaces, force and arms, and without the authority of law. 4 Bl Comm 148.

A remedy to obtain restitution to possession of one turned or kept out of possession of real property by strong hand, violence, or terror. 35 Am J2d Force E & D § 5. [2]

     Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N Boyce’s Criminal Law 487-88 (3d ed. 1982):

     “To walk across another’s land, or to enter his building, without privilege, is a trespass, but this in itself, while a civil wrong, is not a crime.  However, if an entry upon real estate is accomplished by violence or intimidation, or it such methods are employed for detention after a a peaceable entry, there is a crime according to English law, known as forcible entry and detainer.  This was a common-law offense in England, although supplemented by English statutes that are old enough to be common law in this country….  It has sometimes been said that there are two separate offenses —

(1) forcible entry and
(2) forcible detainer. 

     This may be true under the peculiar wording of some particular statute, but in general it seems to be one offense which may be committed in two different ways. [4]

2. A quick and simple legal proceeding for regaining possession of real property from someone who has wrongfully taken, or refused to surrender, possession.  Abbr. FED. — aka forcible detainer.  See EVICTION; EJECTMENT.

     “Forcible entry and detainer is a remedy given by statute for the recovery of possession of land and of damages for its detention. it is entirely regulated by statute, and the statutes vary materially in the different states. [5]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N Boyce’s Criminal Law 487-88 (3d ed. 1982)

[5]: Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 74, at 188 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).


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